Attorneys general from 43 states are putting the heat on oil companies whose service stations and convenience stores are illegally selling synthetic drugs.
The AGs say that synthetic drug use has increased dramatically over the past several years. Starting in 2010, over 11,000 people, many of whom were younger than 17, went to the emergency room after using synthetic marijuana.
The letter said that law enforcement agencies have confirmed over 130 instances of branded gas stations having illegally sold synthetic drugs across the country in recent years.
“When teens and young adults can find synthetic drugs for sale at gas stations operating under well-known brands, its gives these illegal products the false appearance of legitimacy when in fact they are very dangerous, potentially deadly drugs,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. “Oil companies spend millions of dollars on marketing campaigns designed to convince customers their brands are trustworthy. Prohibiting the sale of synthetic drugs in their stores can only protect their brand reputations while also protecting our youth.”
The letter was sent to top company officials at British Petroleum, Chevron Corporation, Citgo Petroleum Corporation, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Phillips 66, Shell Oil Company, Sunoco, and Valero Energy Corporation. In it, the attorneys general requested that the companies address this growing problem by:
- Prohibiting franchisees from selling any synthetic drugs;
- Ensuring the prohibition is understood by store franchisees and their employees by communicating directly with each of them;
- Establishing a point of contact in corporate offices for franchisees, should they have any questions about synthetic drugs;
- Revoking the franchisee/franchisor relationship with any gas station or convenience store that sells synthetic drugs; and
- Reporting to local law enforcement authorities if any franchisee is selling synthetic drugs.
Joining Madigan in sending the letter were attorneys general from the following states and territories: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, 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.