There are hundreds of vape and smoke shops across Houston, but law enforcement zeroed in on three locations for selling “illegal and dangerous” vape oils. Two of those locations are on Bingle Road.
On May 9, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo and representatives of the Harris County Attorney’s Office as well as a doctor with Houston Emergency Medical Services held a press briefing at police headquarters about CBD oil seized at the three shops.
“As part of a months-long investigation, HPD Narcotics Division officers have repeatedly purchased CBD oil from multiple Houston smoke shops,” stated an email ahead of the briefing. “The oil was then tested in a laboratory. CBD oil purchased at three smoke shops was found to contain synthetic cannabinoids, the same substance found in the illegal drug Kush.”
On May 2, HPD officers working with the Harris County Attorney’s Office, served search warrants at three smoke shops, seizing large quantities of CBD oil. In addition, all three smoke shops have been sued in civil court for being a nuisance and are under injunctive order prohibiting them from selling illegal substances.
Those businesses are: Smokey Doke, 5784 Bingle; Dreamerz, 2961 Bingle; and Fantasy, 1412 Westheimer Road. The Leader reached out to the Bingle Road locations for comment; one owner did not return our call by presstime, the other referred us to an attorney but his phone went unanswered.
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has won court orders against two Spring Branch smoke shops to stop them from selling vaping oil laced with illegal chemicals.
“The added-in chemicals, generally known as synthetic cannabinoids, are man-made, mind-altering chemicals that are either sprayed on plant material (Kush) or sold as a liquid to be vaped in e-cigarettes or other devices,” states a press release from the County Attorney. “They are dangerous and highly addictive to the user. They are also illegal in Texas.”
Also called “Spice” and “K2,” synthetic cannabinoids can cause rapid heart rate, vomiting, violent behavior, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts, according to the County Attorney.
“Illicit drug manufacturers are adding synthetic cannabinoids to CBD (cannabidiol) oil, which is often used with a vaping device,” the press release states. “Law enforcement agencies report increased use of “laced” CBD oil, particularly by teenagers and young adults.
The tainted CBD oil is also sold by retail stores as “gummie” candy.”
Ryan has filed more than a dozen lawsuits to stop retailers from selling Kush and in a number of cases put the retailers out of business.
On May 8, Ryan filed lawsuits against Smokey Doke Smoke Shop and Dreamerz Smoke Shop for selling CBD oil tainted with synthetic cannabinoids.
“From February through April, undercover narcotics officers with (HPD) purchased CBD oil products, which later tested positive for controlled substances,” states the release. “On May 1, HPD narcotics officers executed search warrants at the two stores and seized CBD oils, pills, edibles and synthetic urine (which is also illegal).”
The County Attorney’s lawsuits claim that the stores are a nuisance and their owners violated the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act by selling products they claimed were safe and legal, when in fact they are unsafe and illegal. Judge Larry Weiman of the 80th District Court of Harris County entered restraining orders, ordering that the stores immediately stop selling illegal CBD oil products.
“These drug manufacturers and the store owners who sell these products are causing severe harm to Harris County residents, particularly our young people,” County Attorney Ryan said. “Whether it’s Kush or CBD oil, the County Attorney’s Office will continue our efforts to stop these sales and protect our residents.”