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April 3, 2012 - 3:43pm

Laughing Buddha owner pulls potpourri, but believes statewide ban violates constitutional rights

Last week the New York State Health Commissioner issued an order prohibiting products that fall under the umbrella heading of “synthetic cannabinoids” from being sold in the state. These are items sold as “incense” and not for human consumption yet are often smoked as a substitute for marijuana.

Jay Lang, owner of The Laughing Buddha in Batavia, and his attorney say they believe the ban violates two forms of retailers' constitutional rights, one of which falls under the category of interstate trading. 

"After the ban, health department officials stopped by 'The Buddha' but we had already pulled our products that were questionable," Lang said. "I called my attorney and the legal team of the distributors, we all believe that the ban violates the individual rights and the rights of the distributors."

Lang, who recently moved his shop to 238 Ellicott St., claims he did not sell any of the banned items but voluntarily pulled any questionable items from his shelf last Thursday after hearing of the new mandate.

"I don't sell 'Spice' or bath salts," Lang said. "I never have. I sell potpourri. It's the same thing as if you go to your arts and crafts stores or your Big Box retailers. It's just that tattoo and head shops have been put under a microscope."

The items on the state's banned list include K2, Spice, Galaxy Gold, and Mr. Happy.

According to Lang, "Spice" was the trade name given to K2, that was banned more than a year ago. Since then, the distributors have made changes to their products in an attempt to legalize them again, he said.

Although some of the products have regained legal status, they still carry the label "Spice." He said that "Spice" is currently being used as the slang name given to the damiana leaf after it's been sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids. It only gets the "Spice" classification once it is sprayed.

"None of the products that I sell have been sprayed with any form of cannabinoids, which is why these products are still legal to be sold," Lang said.
"My attorney and the distributor's legal team have advised me to put my products back on the shelf, although for the time being, I am keeping them off (the shelf)."

Lang, who said he has NYS certified lab reports that classify his products as potpourri, has also put together a package to work with the health department and law enforcement regarding the products in question.

"I'm inviting the health department and law enforcement to inspect my questionable products," he said. "I have sample kits that I put together for them and I will even pay to have my products tested to prove that they do not contain any of the banned cannabinoids and that all they are is potpourri."

If law enforcement and the health department do not express interest in the testing and validating his products as legal potpourri, Lang plans to restock his shelves with the products.

Lisa Falkowski
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This is the lives of young men and women that are the the crux of the "questionable" items. If shops aren't selling anything questionable, then they should have no concerns. Buck up and quit whining.

Thomas Schneider
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So car dealers should stop selling cars to young men and women too, right? After all, they could be putting their lives in jeopardy by getting behind the wheel.

Gabor Deutsch
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What is danamon leaf ?

lucie griffis
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I think that this is a different topic than cars. An open mind to the severity of the addictions is in question. These are drugs they are doing because they do not show up in toxis and they are more harmful than the actual marijuana. This is a topic that is going to be controversial for a long time. Definitely different than cars and driving. Sad that you commented that.

Thomas Schneider
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Its about personal responsibility. Its sad what people will ingest to get a high. Outlawing one will only lead said people to another more dangerous high. It is the same with cars. A young person making a choice to race a car down the road is actually more dangerous than if they were at home doing spice. People should face the consequences of their actions.

Frank Bartholomew
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Lisa, Lucie, alcohol is still legal, how many millions of lives have been ruined since it became a legal drug?
What about spray paint, glue, spot remover, cold remedies,,,etc,etc, are those better examples??

Billie Owens
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Two posts were deleted. No personal attacks, folks.

Frank Bartholomew
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Lucie, if a drug abuser is smart, and I know how dumb that sounds, they can get a clean toxie within 72 hours after injecting heroin, morphine, cocaine, and on and on. A chronic pot smoker has to wait at least 30 days without using to get clean. Mushrooms are undetectable by urine screens, I would rather see someone use spice than heroin, cocaine, mushrooms, alcohol, etc,etc.. Banning everything under the sun is not the answer, education is the sure bet.

Jason Murray
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Billie mine was not a personal attack. It was fact. The pot should not be calling the kettle black. Alcohol has claimed a million times more lives then weed, either real or fake!!!

tom hunt
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I can't believe how many dye in the wool pot smokers live in Batavia. I guess it is a personal choice, whether you chose to destroy your liver via alcohol or your brain and lungs by smoking noxious herbs and synthetic laced chemicals.

Howard B. Owens
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The correct spelling, corrected now in the story, is damiana leaf.

lucie griffis
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Frank I am the mother of a child with addictions and if it were only pot he smoke that would be the least of my problems. I would rather see my son only smoke pot rather than all those other drugs or even spice. I completely agree with the fact these are banned. I have heard from the kids and many others of the seriousness of the spice. How about hearing that they have been around when friends have seizured and they never called for help because they were all messed up. They waited for them to come around. Do you not realize that they could die from this? I realize they could die from many others things also. I have a different outlook I guess and we can agree to disagree.

Frank Bartholomew
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Lucie, I totally understand where you are coming from. I just don't believe it's the govts. job, or right to dictate what drugs we can or cannot use. I will bet more ER visits are generated by teens using alcohol than all other drugs combined.
Based on what I have heard, a lot of the kids who smoke spice, smoke it like it's pot, way too much, 10 hits on a gravity bong, thats outrageous, no wonder they have seizures, that would probably be more than enough to put me into a coma. As a recovering alcoholic, I can't use any drug, with the exception being prescription drugs from my doc. as needed for ailments.
Like I said, we can't ban everything that may or may not put teens in harms way, we can educate them on the dangers of any and all intoxicants, prescription drugs, spice, or any other product they misuse to get high on.

Thomas Mooney
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Jay Lang , Your shop won't be around long challangeing the The Health Department and the cops . You are not in a big city, but a smll conservative one that doesn't like the presense of your shop already, so why bring on the heat. Also , why would you attempt to sell this product when there are others you could sell without any heat with the same incense smell . One reason , its a big seller because it is abused and used not as intended for according to the package . You know this . so you will be breaking the law if you re-stock . Your distributer's lawyers won't stick up for you . They just want you to stock it and are trying to convince you otherwise .

Thomas Mooney
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Tatoos are where the money is , that is if you do the Tattoos yourself ,and not have someone do them for you under your shop name . So why would you even bother fighting this . Answer- Jay Lang is not a tattoo artist but just a shop owner .

Thomas Mooney
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High Votage Tattoo Shop , does not sell anything related to drugs or misused merchandise . The owner is a tattoo artist with an art degree , and that is where the money is . The public is smarter than you think Mr. Lang .

Jason Murray
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If high voltage is such a den of talent, how come the owner cant even come up with an original name

Jason Murray
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I wouldnt step foot into any shop in batavia. I'm just saying that just because the owner is an artist doesn't make it any better than any other one

Frank Bartholomew
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Mr.Mooney, would it be ok if the buddha sold alcohol, would that get everyone all riled up, of course not, but remember, a drug is a drug is a drug.

Phil Ricci
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As long as alcohol and cigerettes are legal, the argument that something can hurt your body thus should be banned is pointless.

I'm going to take another side of this discussion. If we would just legalize real pot, there would not be a need for fake pot. Just saying.

Bob Rathenburgh
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No one is forcing these peoeple to do this stuff. No one is making them smoke it. One bad apple ruins it for everyone, isnt that usually how it works out.. Let the stuff stay on the shelf. In my opinion (and its just an opinion so bitch all you want)i cannot help that people are so stupid to consume something in anyway shape or form that says right on it NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION. The product obviously has the warning lable on it.. then again so does Xanax, robitussin, tylonel... etc.. lets all pull that too because kids get high on that stuff as well.. I'm glad i live in a "free" country.

Bob Rathenburgh
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Speaking of the tattoo shops - you say tattoos are where the money is and that is so true. They arent making money off selling anything but the art on your body.. BUT i do disagree with you when you say the money is there if your the one doing the tattoo. I know a few people who own shops and make 50% of each tattoo his artists do.. Shop owners make alot more than most people think..

Billie Owens
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Jason, our ban on personal attacks stands regardless of whether a comment is "true" or factual. The point is to keep on topic -- or follow the digression or go off on a tangent -- and not get personal about things.

Bob Rathenburgh
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On eother thing for my opinion to spit out here... Its not different than cars really.. liek stated above some kid goes racing down the street.. some kid smokes spice.. its all bad choices but atleats the kid smoking spice is only going to kill himself and not a family of 5 while he's racing down the street...

C. M. Barons
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We have entities responsible for determining the safety and application of drugs, FDA, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences and AMA. Not discounting the vulnerability of the FDA to political/corporate manipulation, why are congress and state legislatures determining which drugs can be manufactured, distributed or consumed? Our representatives can't be counted on to conduct an intelligent discussion of healthcare or birth control; do their credentials improve on the subject of drugs?

Frank Bartholomew
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APOV; This post is for those who think these bans are fair, and doesn't step on the rights of some, but not others. A certain product, which is still on the market and has been for a while, is a hot item among teens to go "robo-tripping". Do you think the CEO's of any of these manufacturers of this type of cold remedy care one bit, hell no, sales are up. They are no different than alcohol, tobacco, pharma, spice, or whatever else is out there to hurt ourselves with. Its all about money, regardless of who gets hurt.
I'm damned sick and tired of some conservative jackass with a manhatten in his hand tell me I can only use his drug of choice. It's hypocritical BS.

jason lang
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I am not going after law enforcement nor the health board?! .. Like I offered them both samples, one took samples one did not but regardless they were both polite and the City Police Detective even confirmed that it was not a crime as of now it's actually not illegal, it's just banned from sale in local retail locations, one my Buddha. The Buddha voluntarily pulled products, hesitant because our product is not actually indeed even the refered to 'spice' In question. My product is something completely different. Also not sure what everyone looking at the Buddha for? Christmas charity? Piercings for pierce drive? The Buddha is a great local business and I think a lot of people should come check us out!! In regards to re-stocking, that should happen soon

jason lang
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Second off why would I not want to keep a product on my shelf that is legal and makes me money?? As a retail store owner I have rights to free trade, when someone takes that away from me they are wrong! I follow the law end of storie. Look for new potpourri soon folks!!! thanks got all

Thomas Mooney
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Mr. Kingpin ,You must have the holy grail of potpourri then . Why is there such a demand for your's and no other shops potpourri . Simply , it is in high demand for its unintended useage and you know this . Regaurdless if it is legal or not . It is hurting our kids and our community . Is that a good enough reason . I don't care if you make money on it.

Thomas Schneider
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That's not a good enough reason. If we banned every product that could hurt "our kids" through improper usage, there would be no products on store shelves. I call for a ban on water, in order to prevent drownings. See how silly that sounds?

Frank Bartholomew
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Mr. Mooney, alcohol will hurt more kids than any other drugs combined, read comment #27, I think it applies to you.

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