NC Highway Patrol continue to battle dangerous synthetic marijuana trend

- FOX 46 Charlotte is taking action...

"...Please leave my store," Johnny Hawkins said. 

Hawkins kicked FOX 46 Charlotte out of his store, Johnny's E Cigs, in Bessemer City. Just before our crew was kicked out of the store they purchased two grams of potpourri Mary Jane for $20. It was marketed as incense but on the streets many know it as synthetic marijuana. 

Related: Synthetic marijuana user "lights up" for the cameras

Bessemer City police said it's legal to buy and sell, but if you smoke it, it's illegal. And it can be far worse than real marijuana. 

After Hawkins kicked FOX 46 Charlotte out of the store - he decided to speak.

"Some people are saying you guys know people misuse this, some people say a lot of things. Some people say the government has got a cure for cancer and won't let it out, doesn't make it true, though," he said. 

On Tuesday, North Carolina State Highway Patrol arrested Richie Scott, 43, stating he was passed out behind the wheel of his truck off North 4th Street, just minutes away from Johnny's E Cigs. 

Highway Patrol said Scott was passed out with a blunt from Johnny's E Cigs. They believe people like Scott purchase synthetic drugs thinking they're a safer way to catch a buzz, but in reality, it's not safe at all. 

Scott admitted to being a recovering heroin addict, telling police "this synthetic stuff" is hooking him worse than anything. 

"'The fact that people do abuse this drug, does that concern you at all?'" FOX 46 Charlotte asked. "I do everything in my power to keep it on the up and up. So, everybody else does what their business, I do with mine," Hawkins replied. 

Scott posted bond Tuesday afternoon. His official charges are D.W.I. and possession of toxic vapors. Police said they've known about what's going on at Johnny's E Cigs for years, but they can't charge the store for that people are doing with their product.

Their hands, for the most part, have been tied. 

 

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