La. convenience store owner files federal class action over synthetic pot

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Nov. 21, 2011, 7:17am

NEW ORLEANS -- After being arrested and charged with felony sale and distribution of a cannabinoid, a Louisiana convenience store owner has filed a class action against the manufacturers of botanical potpourri, which warranted that the products were free of the synthetic cannabinoid.

Cannabinoids are a class of chemical compounds, the most notable is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the primary psychoactive compound of cannabis, or marijuana.

Abdel En Nabut filed suit against Dascents, JNA Manufacturing, Research Triangle Park Laboratories, Tulane Drug Analysis Laboratory, LA 1 Wholesale, Mikes Worldwide Imports and India Imports Inc. on Nov. 5 in federal court in New Orleans.

The defendants are manufacturers, distributors and vendors of botanical potpourri, bath salt, and sache, which are marketed and sold through convenience stores in Louisiana.

En Nabut states that he and his fellow store owners were warranted that the products sold by them were free of "deleterious ingredients" and not harmful to consumers. Specifically, he states that the defendants stated that the products did not contain synthetic cannabinoid and provided laboratory certifications showing that they were not in violation of Louisiana laws.

The plaintiff and some of class member store owners were arrested and their stock confiscated by Louisiana authorities and they were charged with felony sale and distribution of cannabinoid.

The lawsuit is asking an aggregate amount of damages in excess of $5 million for mental anguish, loss of business, loss of reputation, uncompensated seizure of merchandise, arrest and imprisonment or fear, potential loss of licenses and ability to operate, interest, costs and attorney fees.

The plaintiff is represented by Lawrence D. Wiedemann of Wiedemann Law Firm in Metairie and Salvatore G. Lovecchio in Boutte. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-02762

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