Houston police say over-the-counter pills and tainted CBD oil is a growing trend at the city’s smoke shops and convenience stores.
Raids of the business over the past several months has yielded guns, illegal vape liquids, black market pills and led to several arrests, according to police.
“You might as well just go get a pill that you find on the street, on the ground. Pick it up and take it,” said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. “Just go on the side of the road and find something on the ground. If you’re willing to do that, and don’t think it’s a problem, you’re probably the kind of person who would take that.”
Police say they confiscated illegal CBD oil containing synthetic marijuana at three Houston smoke shops in the past few months.
The smoke shops are: Fantasy on Westheimer, Dreamerz on Bingle Road and Smokey Doke on Bingle Road.
KHOU 11 was able to speak with the owners of two of the smoke shops but they declined on-camera interviews.
City officials held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss the growing trend of allegedly “toxic” CBD oil and manufactured pills sold at convenience stores.
Emergency incidents related to the use of the substances have become a strain on Houston’s emergency management systems, according to police.
“[Users] are volunteering to be lab rats, they’re volunteering to do pharmaceutical research backwards,” said Houston Forensic Science Center CEO Dr. Peter Stout.
“[The pills are] manufactured by people in garages and kitchens. You have no idea what’s in them. There’s no other way to put it. These things are horribly dangerous.”
Police displayed several of the illegal pills confiscated through raids, including “Rhinomax,” a male sexual-enhancement supplement.
“Men can experience serious, terrible consequences from these things,” said City of Houston Emergency Management Service director Dr. David Persse.
The city attorney’s office says temporary restraining orders have already been filed against the businesses caught selling the confiscated substances.
A spokesperson with the city attorney’s office says the city will file civil lawsuits against the businesses, which could result in a fine of $20,000 for each tainted bottle of CBD oil sold.