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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. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  2. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  3. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  4. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  5. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

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