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Aromatherapy distributors challenge new 'look-alike' synthetic drug law

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Four companies that sell novelty items, aromatherapy products and other items have filed a lawsuit against Indiana’s prosecutors, alleging a newly enacted law that makes it illegal to possess or deal “look-alike” synthetic drugs is unconstitutional.

The companies, located around the state, claim the new law – Senate Enrolled Act 536, which took effect May 7 – could lead a reasonable person to include cigarettes, potpourri or catnip under the synthetic drug look-alike substance definition.

Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) authored the bill that tightened the state’s ban on synthetic drugs and closed a loophole in the previous drug ban by making it illegal to make, distribute or possess synthetic drug look-alike substances.

Even before this law took effect, the plaintiffs say they were subjected to search and seizures by law enforcement, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in the Indianapolis Division of the Southern District of Indiana. After the statute was enacted, plaintiff Little Arm Inc. had products taken by the Indiana State Excise Police claiming that they were a look-alike substance.

“Plaintiffs have suffered a significant loss of revenue and goodwill in their respective communities as a result of Defendants’ actions and will continue to suffer those losses as long as Defendants persist in targeting Plaintiffs’ lawful business activities with baseless accusations, threats and/or intimidation through media statements and harassment of Plaintiffs’ customers and/or vendors,” the suit says.

The plaintiffs deny that their aromatherapy products contain synthetic drugs. They allege the new law is unconstitutional because it violates due process under the 14th Amendment, the equal protection clause in Article 1, Sections 23, and constitutes a regulatory taking of property in violation of the Fifth Amendment and Article 1, Section 21 of the state Constitution.

The companies seek a preliminary and permanent injunction preventing enforcement of the new law.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said Wednesday his office will defend the legislators’ public policy decision that “the Indiana Code ought not be circumvented by peddlers of synthetic drugs who try to exploit loopholes in order to profit from the sale of potentially dangerous substances.”

The case is Little Arm Inc., et al. v. Prosecutors, et al., 1:13-CV-862.

 

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  1. Looks like 2017 will be another notable year for these cases. I have a Grandson involved in a CHINS case that should never have been. He and the whole family are being held hostage by CPS and the 'current mood' of the CPS caseworker. If the parents disagree with a decision, they are penalized. I, along with other were posting on Jasper County Online News, but all were quickly warned to remove posts. I totally understand that some children need these services, but in this case, it was mistakes, covered by coorcement of father to sign papers, lies and cover-ups. The most astonishing thing was within 2 weeks of this child being placed with CPS, a private adoption agency was asking questions regarding child's family in the area. I believe a photo that was taken by CPS manager at the very onset during the CHINS co-ocerment and the intent was to make money. I have even been warned not to post or speak to anyone regarding this case. Parents have completed all requirements, met foster parents, get visitation 2 days a week, and still the next court date is all the way out till May 1, which gives them(CPS) plenty of to time make further demands (which I expect) No trust of these 'seasoned' case managers, as I have already learned too much about their dirty little tricks. If they discover that I have posted here, I expect they will not be happy and penalized parents again. Still a Hostage.

  2. They say it was a court error, however they fail to mention A.R. was on the run from the law and was hiding. Thus why she didn't receive anything from her public defender. Step mom is filing again for adoption of the two boys she has raised. A.R. is a criminal with a serious heroin addiction. She filed this appeal MORE than 30 days after the final decision was made from prison. Report all the facts not just some.

  3. Hysteria? Really Ben? Tell the young lady reported on in the link below that worrying about the sexualizing of our children is mere hysteria. Such thinking is common in the Royal Order of Jesters and other running sex vacays in Thailand or Brazil ... like Indy's Jared Fogle. Those tempted to call such concerns mere histronics need to think on this: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-12-year-old-girl-live-streamed-her-suicide-it-took-two-weeks-for-facebook-to-take-the-video-down/ar-AAlT8ka?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=spartanntp

  4. This is happening so much. Even in 2016.2017. I hope the father sue for civil rights violation. I hope he sue as more are doing and even without a lawyer as pro-se, he got a good one here. God bless him.

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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