MILWAUKEE -- The state of Wisconsin has won a $4.5 million judgement against a former store on Milwaukee's east side that sold synthetic marijuana.
Prosecutors say Atomic Glass sold approximately 60,000 packets of the illegal drug between 2011 and 2016.
It was labeled and marketed to be sold as "herbal incense" or "potpourri" to try to skirt the rules.
The lawsuit was filed in 2017, after authorities raided Atomic Glass and the Food Town Mini Mart, which was shut down late last year after it was labeled a public nuisance by officials.
“The formula for synthetic drugs changes quicker than lawmakers can outlaw it, many times hampering law enforcement’s ability to effectively enforce the state’s drug laws. Thanks to the creative thinking of investigators and attorneys, DOJ was able to hold Atomic Glass accountable through the use of Wisconsin’s consumer protection laws and other retailers should take note. We cannot allow Wisconsinites, particularly our young people, to be harmed by potentially dangerous drugs, whether they are being peddled on the streets or sold by the person standing behind the counter of a convenience store," said Attorney General Brad Schimel in a news release.
The DOJ's press release noted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued warnings of severe bleeding and death related to the use of synthetic cannabinoids, as the cases have increased across the country. Illinois has had more than 160 cases and at least four deaths related to these drugs. The cases in Illinois were tested at a lab and found to be positive for Brodifacoum, which is a highly toxic chemical found in rat poison.
On Aug. 1, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) confirmed a death in Milwaukee County related to the use of synthetic cannabinoid use.
At this time, the DOJ said there is no known connection between Atomic Glass and this recent death.
DOJ and local law enforcement are urging anyone using synthetic cannabinoids to cease immediately and destroy them. If you or someone you know experiences unexpected and prolonged bruising or bleeding, particularly with minimal trauma (such as shaving or brushing teeth), contact the Wisconsin Poison Center for guidance at 1-800-222-1222 or CLICK HERE.
Synthetic cannabinoids can be found across the U.S. in convenience stores, gas stations, drug paraphernalia shops, novelty stores, and online. If you see them being sold, please contact your local law enforcement agency for follow-up.
People who have used these drugs and experience severe or unexplained bleeding or bruising should call 9-1-1 or have someone take them to an emergency department immediately. If you have used these products and are not bleeding, you should still see a health care provider, as Brodifacoum can accumulate and remain in your system for a long period of time, and could still cause bleeding.