SAN DIEGO — A Lemon Grove convenience store that openly sold the designer drug “spice” to customers agreed to pay more than $54,000 to settle a consumer protection case, it was announced Tuesday.
As part of the civil settlement, Best $1 Store agreed to a permanent injunction prohibiting the sale of “spice” on the premises, said San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.
Since January 2012, selling synthetic cannabinoid compounds, commonly known as psychoactive bath salts and certain herbal incenses, has been illegal in California. But a number of convenience stores, smoke shops and other retailers have continued to sell the drug despite the new law, according to prosecutors.
Some of the brand names under which “spice” is sold include Mad Hatter, Grand Daddy Potpourri, Red Dragon, Magic Flower and Code Black.
“These designer drugs have been shown to be dangerous, and in some cases, deadly,” Dumanis said. “Our Consumer Protection Unit has been warning stores not to sell these illegal substances and using civil prosecutions, we’re holding defendants accountable when they ignore state law.”
In March and April of this year, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department conducted an undercover operation of Best $1 during which officers completed nine separate transactions that included the purchases of spice, according to the district attorney.
Additionally, Best $1 allowed the undercover officers to purchase spice and other non-food items with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits loaded on Electronic Benefit Transfer cards.
SNAP benefits may only be used to purchase approved food items. The purchase of non-food items with such benefits — and obviously items such as spice — are strictly prohibited, Dumanis said.
Best $1 entered into the settlement without admitting any wrongdoing, and prosecutors in the case acknowledge that Best $1’s principal and its counsel worked cooperatively with the District Attorney’s Office to resolve the matter promptly.