Attorney General Sam Olens has asked nine oil companies to collaborate with their franchisees to help eliminate synthetic drugs from retail locations operating under their brand names, including gas station and convenience stores.
The use of synthetic drugs has increased dramatically over the past four years. In 2010, more than 11,000 people, many of whom were younger than 17, went to the emergency room after using synthetic marijuana. Since then, thousands more have been harmed by synthetic drugs. In 2014, one health department reported a 220% increase in emergency room visits due to the ingestion of synthetic marijuana. Over this same period, enforcement agencies confirmed more than 130 instances of branded gas stations having sold synthetic drugs.
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“I, along with 42 of my colleagues, strongly encourage these nine oil companies to cooperate with our request to remove synthetic drugs from franchise retail locations,” said Attorney General Olens. “Synthetic drugs are a threat to public safety and public health, and these dangerous substances should not be for sale in a legitimate place of business.”
In a letter signed by 42 other attorneys general, Attorney General Olens expressed concern over the problem of gas stations and convenience stores operating under brand names of reputable oil companies and selling illegal and extremely dangerous synthetic drugs. Many of these well-known retail locations give the appearance of safety and legitimacy to dangerous synthetic products. Enforcing stronger policies against the sale of synthetic drugs in retail locations can protect the brand reputations of these oil companies while also protecting our youth.
The attorneys general request the following actions be considered by these oil companies to address this growing problem:
Prohibit franchisees from selling any synthetic drugs;
Ensure this prohibition is understood by store franchisees and their employees by communicating directly with each of them;
Establish a point of contact in corporate offices for franchisees, should they have any questions about synthetic drugs;
Revoke franchisee/franchisor relationship with any gas station or convenience store that sells any kind of synthetic drugs; and
Report to local law enforcement authorities if any franchisee is selling synthetic drugs.
The following oil companies addressed in this letter are: British Petroleum, Chevron Corporation, Citgo Petroleum Corporation, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Phillips 66, Shell Oil Company, Sunoco, and Valero Energy Corporation.
The state and territorial attorneys general offices that signed today’s letter are: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.