Pubdate: Thu, 07 Mar 2013
Source: Windsor Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2013 The Windsor Star
Author: Trevor Wilhelm


Warnings Issued to Store Owners

Windsor police are cracking down on a controversial synthetic 
marijuana, seizing it from local stores and warning owners to stop selling it.

After consulting with local prosecutors and Health Canada, drug squad 
officers went around town Wednesday seizing the drug, known as The IZMS.

"The product is marketed as legal weed," said Sgt. Matthew D'Asti.

"We're educating store owners that, in fact, we know it is illegal."

In recent weeks, police have purchased packages of the product and 
sent it to Health Canada for testing. D'Asti said tests revealed the 
product contains illegal synthetic cannabinoids listed under the 
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Distributors of the potent synthetic marijuana claim it's legal and 
more powerful than the real thing. It has been available at some 
smoke shops and convenience stores in the Windsor area for several months.

Windsor police weren't planning to arrest anyone on Wednesday. They 
were on an "educational campaign," handing out a letter from Chief Al 
Frederick warning store owners that selling the drug is illegal.

The move in Windsor follows crackdowns and seizures in other cities, 
including the arrest of the company owner's father in Toronto.

On Feb. 28, Hamilton and Toronto police executed search warrants at 
two locations in Toronto. Hamilton police said the raids were part of 
an investigation into synthetic marijuana and the owner of The IZMS 
company, who investigators believe was "trafficking and producing the 

A search of one of the locations turned up 200 grams of marijuana and 
45 grams of cannabis resin, police said.

Peter Wookey, 53, of Toronto, is charged with possession of marijuana 
for the purpose of trafficking and possession of cannabis resin for 
the purpose of trafficking. Peter Wookey is the father of The IZMS 
CEO Adam Wookey.

Adam Wookey told The Star on Wednesday he is consulting lawyers to 
decide his next steps. He still maintains the product is perfectly legal.

"Have there been any charges in relation to The IZMS?" said Wookey. 
"As far as I'm aware there aren't, which is odd. If it's illegal then 
why aren't they charging anyone."

He refused to comment on the fact his father was just arrested and 
charged in an investigation of The IZMS.

D'Asti said police are starting out by warning people The IZMS is 
illegal. If buyers and store owners don't take the hint, things could 
change. But he added many Windsor stores had already stopped selling 
the drug anyway, because they were no longer comfortable having it on 
the shelves.

"We're advising retailers, and the general public as well, that 
anybody who is found in possession of The IZMS could potentially face 
prosecution under the CDSA in relation to possession of an illegal 
drug or possession for the purpose of trafficking an illegal 
substance," said D'Asti.

The company says the product is a mix of natural and synthetic 
ingredients, but refuses to reveal exactly what they are. The IZMS 
website claims the product is legal because it contains cannabinoids 
that are not included under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Health Canada previously told The Star it is possible to produce 
synthetic versions of components in marijuana, but it's still illegal.

Despite that, the company unabashedly promotes and sells its product 
online and at local distributors. The IZMS comes in several different 
price points and flavours, including Grape Drank, Gin N' Juice, Boom 
Kron, Bomberry Blue and Luau Love.

Different flavours have different potencies.

People in the U.S. have ended up in hospital after smoking other 
kinds of synthetic weed. Several users in Canada have posted to 
online message boards talking about the "terrifying" effects of The 
IZMS, including hallucinations, vomiting and paranoia.

Wookey said he believes recent police action against his company is a 
scare tactic with no legal grounding.

"I think it's to put fear in people's minds so they're scared of 
selling," said Wookey.

"So they can basically, without passing any laws, in effect also make 
something as if it is illegal. If no one will sell it, everyone's 
scared to sell it, then you've basically banned something without 
actually having to go to Parliament.

"Kind of crazy in a democracy, but hey."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom