Pubdate: Wed, 13 Mar 2013
Source: Metro (Toronto, CN ON)
Copyright: 2013 Metro Canada
Author: Jessica Smith


The CEO of The Izms says it was the ingrained drug culture at 
Toronto's best public and private schools that led him to start 
selling synthetic marijuana and pills that offer users the same 
effects as illegal drugs do.

"My life was affected by the current system we have in place, a lot 
of my friends lives were affected," Adam Wookey, 28, told Metro a few 
days after his arrest for drug trafficking, in relation to his role 
as CEO of The Izms and PurePillz.

The Izms sells "a legal alternative to weed" that is made of natural, 
smoke-able herbs mixed with synthetic cannabinoids that get the user 
high. PurePillz sells pills-uppers, downers and ecstasy alternatives.

Wookey argues it's harder for teens to get alcohol from liquor stores 
than drugs from their friends, which creates a drug culture that 
encourages the use of drugs and offers a tempting economic incentive 
for teens to deal drugs. That's why he says he wants to see "drug 
alternatives" like he sells regulated and sold in stores, instead of 
being outlawed and thus made part of the illegal drug culture.

"You don't see people getting into selling alcohol when they're 
growing up," he said.

"Son of privilege jailed"

In 2006, Wookey was given a 22-month sentence after he pleaded guilty 
to gun possession and drug trafficking offences committed shortly 
after he turned 18.

The Toronto Star and the National Post covered his sentencing, 
proclaiming in headlines that a "son of privilege"- who had attended 
private schools, was the nephew of a then Toronto council candidate 
and the grandson of a prominent developer - was being jailed.

The Star recounted some of what happened on Halloween night 2002 
after police entered the apartment where Wookey lived with a friend. 
Following a report that someone had been firing paintball guns at 
cars, police found the apartment deserted but there was a strong 
odour of marijuana. Cops found two paintball guns, three bongs, 
hashish, cocaine, two sets of scales, $5,120 in cash, two stolen 
rifles and a sawed-off shotgun.

"I know this isn't what I was meant to be," Wookey told Justice 
Denise Bellamy at his sentencing, according to The Star.

The Post reported on some of the 20 letters of support Wookey's 
prominent family and friends wrote to the court, which included 
promises to support him in the community and find him lawful 
employment in the future.

Taking "legal" drugs to market

Wookey set up PurePillz after his release from jail.

"A number of us got together and saw there was clearly a demand for 
recreational products in Canada, and we saw the industry was growing 
in other counties," he said. "We took it to our target market-the 
other product was more sensitive so we screened people to make sure 
they were regular drug users."

Those users liked it and many said they felt it wasn't as addictive 
as the drugs the PurePillz were replacing, Wookey said. In 2008, 
Health Canada ordered many PurePillz products removed from the market.

Then Wookey set up The Izms, which is what has landed him in court.

Wookey argues the synthetic cannabinoids in The Izms are not illegal 
because they are distinctly chemically different from the "similar 
synthetic preparations" of cannabis that are covered in the 
Controlled Drug and Substances Act.

"It has a different structure and it even has a different 
pharmacological effect. While it does act on the cannabinoid 
receptors, it doesn't mean it acts on them the same way as THC," he said.

While some countries ban newly developed cannabinoids quickly, Wookey 
is hoping Canada will chose to regulate them instead.

Banning new families of synthetic cannabinoids is dangerous, 
according to Wookey, because companies will in turn develop new ones 
that can be more chemically distinct but also more dangerous then the 
ones that have been banned.

Instead, he argues new recreational drugs should be regulated and 
manufacturers should be made to perform clinical trials.

"The other option, banning leads to death, leads to more new 
substances coming out," he said. "We're at a crossroads."

Sex store robbery sparked Izms crackdown

Adam Wookey turned himself into Hamilton Police last Friday, after 
they began investigating Izms because a robber demanded the product 
when he held up a sex store in January.

Hamilton police then got confirmation from Health Canada that Izms 
contains chemicals it considers to be controlled substances.

Then, with the assistance of the Toronto Police Service, Hamilton 
officers executed a search warrant at two Toronto addresses in the 
area of Hazelton Avenue and Davenport Road connected to The Izms 
company, seizing 200 grams of marijuana and 45 grams of cannabis 
resin. Officers arrested Peter Wookey, Adam Wookey's father, and 
charged him with several offences, including possession of marijuana 
for the purpose of trafficking. Adam Wookey would not comment on that arrest.

Since Health Canada's announcement, police forces have been urging 
stores to take Izms off of their shelves.

- -with files from Torstar News Service

An Izms 'trip' chronicled

Freelance journalist Chris Riddell smoked some Izms and chronicled 
the trip on his blog.

"It looks like tobacco, smells like shisha and tastes like a fruity 
cigarette. Two hits and I was toast. Eyes bright pink. Magnetically 
sealed to the armchair and no way of getting up for at least an hour. 
Has the Earth's gravity gone up? I wondered. I watched Frozen Planet 
to entertain myself in the early stages of the buzz," he wrote.

"Later during the underwater scenes I tripped hard. The blending 
teals and deep blues, crystals of ice and schools of starfish, 
everything contrasted and melted together like an alien world. ... 
While I felt extremely high I could actually observe myself in this 
warped state and put into perspective how messed up I was. The images 
and sounds were magnified and enhanced. I was in the frozen ocean."

Riddell said he didn't hallucinate, "but everything seemed really trippy."

When he had a heart palpitation, he became worried.

"I tried to breathe and calm down, told myself it would pass. It 
lasted a couple seconds and then vanished. Nothing happened but I was 
freaked out. This kind of thing doesn't happen to me normally so I 
have to conclude it was due to the drugs. This was perhaps a warning 
sign of what can happen if you smoke too much. Could I have gotten a 
heart attack if I went too far?" he wrote.

Riddell said when he wrote about The Izms he hoped someone would take 
notice and now he's glad Health Canada has. He strongly recommends 
that anyone who comes across it doesn't try it.

"It's dangerous stuff, in my opinion," he said.

The Pink "Luau Love," shown left, is a medium-strength flavour of 
Izms. According to Health Canada, Izms contains synthetic 
cannabinoids JWH-018, JWH-073 and JWH-122, which are controlled 
substances. CEO of The Izms, Adam Wookey, argues those chemicals do 
not actually fall under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act 
(CDSA). If smoked, Izms will get you high, users report. However, 
Hamilton police say there can also be negative side effects such as: 
Rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion and hallucinations. 
Long-term effects can include withdrawal and addiction symptoms and 
raised blood pressure, police said.

Bliss, shown right, is an ecstasy or MDMA alternative made by 
PurePillz, a company also run by Wookey. PurePillz says Bliss 
contains, "Moxynadrone, a proprietary blend of ingredients designed 
to give you the most similar effect to MDMA that legal ingredients 
can provide." Health Canada warned that some PurePillz products 
contain benzylpiperazine (BZP) and 3-trifluoromethylphenylpiperazine 
(3-TFMPP), which may cause increased body temperature, increased 
blood pressure, dilated pupils, increased euphoria, alertness and 
paranoia. In high doses those chemicals have been reported to cause 
hallucinations, convulsions and slowed breathing, Health Canada warned.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom