Tobacconist hit with fine for selling synthetic cannabis

THE manager of an Ipswich tobacconist has been fined for selling synthetic cannabis, claiming an advertising campaign by the suppliers convinced her the products were legal.

The manager of the Ipswich Free Choice tobacconist Khim Sua Tang, 38, yesterday pleaded guilty at Ipswich Magistrates Court to selling a restricted poison and possessing dangerous drugs.

The court was told Tang was found in possession of a number of bags of synthetic cannabis in November 2012.

Police executed a warrant on the business, and when they told Tang what they were looking for, she produced a number of bags from behind the counter and in the office.

On May, 8 of this year police again attended the store and asked Tang if she was still selling synthetic cannabis.

She produced a small number of bags of the product and gave them to police.

She told them the suppliers were still contacting her trying to convince her to stock it, however, she had stopped selling it.

The court heard synthetic cannabis was a regulated poison and not legal for sale.

Synthetic drugs have become an emerging concern for police.

There have been calls to ban all synthetic products imitating illegal drugs following the death of a Sydney teenager in June after he jumped from a balcony after he took a synthetic drug sold to him as LSD.

Tang's defence counsel said the suppliers had traded on the confusion regarding the legality of the product to convince tobacconists to stock it.

The suppliers provided professional looking flyers to Tang, one of which was tendered to the court, claiming the products were legal to sell.

The court heard these flyers were part of a marketing campaign that convinced Tang the products were legal, as well as a number of requests from regular customers if she was stocking them.

Tang, who fled the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia to Australia in 1988, had no criminal history.

She was fined $400 yesterday.

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