Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that his office and the Harris County Attorney’s Office obtained a $2 million judgment against Happie Hippie Smoke Shop, which sold dangerous and illegal synthetic drugs.
In October 2016, Attorney General Paxton filed a lawsuit against the Houston smoke shop and its operators, Esam M. Ali-Hasan and James Ayling. They were accused of violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) by deliberately leading consumers to believe that illegal drugs sold at their business were safe and legal.
According to police reports, the operators of Happie Hippie Smoke Shop appeared to be manufacturing synthetic cannabinoids in a 50-gallon fish tank and applying it to dried leaves, which were packaged and sold. Ayling told officers that 100-150 packets of synthetic cannabinoids were sold daily at the smoke shop. Synthetic drugs can cause serious side effects including severe paranoia, psychotic episodes, violent delusions, kidney damage, suicidal thoughts and self-mutilation.
“My office will continue to use all legal means possible to protect Texans and their families from the scourge of synthetic drugs,” Attorney General Paxton said. “As evidenced by the outcome of this latest case, businesses that sell synthetic drugs will be held accountable.”
While synthetic drug packages may include a claim that the product is “legal for sale in all 50 states,” it is against the law in Texas to manufacture, deliver or possess a synthetic cannabinoid. Under the DTPA, manufacturers and distributors of synthetic cannabinoids can face civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation. To learn more facts about synthetic drugs, visit the attorney general office’s website.