GLENS FALLS -- A criminal charge filed last summer against a store clerk accused of having illegal “synthetic marijuana” products for sale at his store has been dismissed after tests found no banned substances in the items that were seized, officials said.
Police this week returned a bag full of “herbal incense” products seized last July at the Smoke ‘N Save shop on Park Street after it was found they were not illegal.
A misdemeanor count of prohibited sale of synthetic marijuana filed against the clerk who was working when police seized the items — Morgan A. Wells, 38, of Glens Falls — was dismissed late last week in Glens Falls City Court.
Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan said tests at a police laboratory found no banned substances in the products.
The case was the first prosecution under Warren County’s law that took effect last spring to ban the sale of synthetic marijuana products that had been blamed for dozens of health problems among users in the region.
The items are generally leafy substances sold in vials that cost $20 to $50. While the packages indicate they are not to be used for human consumption, most purchasers buy them to smoke and many have adverse reactions to the chemicals that they believe can give them a high.
Products seized last July included some produced by brands like Wild Lettuce Opium, Blast Off, Nirvana and Wicked X.
Matt Harris, owner of the Smoke ‘N Save chain, said he incurred several thousand dollars in legal bills defending against charges that shouldn’t have been filed in the first place.
“There was nothing synthetic,” he said. “These are herbs you can find at any health food store.”
He said his staff was confident the items were legal, but pulled them from the shelves at all of its stores after police charged Wells.
“This hurt our business,” he said.
Harris said police should not have filed any charges until the products were tested and it was determined they were illegal. He said Internet searches could have determined that the brands in question did not contain any banned chemicals.