Owner of Australian Smoke Shop Chain Imprisoned for Selling Synthetic Weed

Residents of Western Australia’s capital city Perth have grown accustomed to the Cloud 9 smoke shops dotting the metropolitan area. Some passersby may even remember when Cloud 9 came to national media attention after a series of shop raids in 2015 and 2016 turned up large quantities of synthetic cannabinoid products. Now, after a lengthy two-year trial, the owner of the Cloud 9 chain of smoke shops in Australia, Hoang Nam Nguyen, has been sentenced to two years in jail for selling illegal drugs. Nguyen’s sentencing marks the first time someone in Western Australia will serve time for selling banned substances.

Cloud 9 Smoke Shop Owner Jailed Following Law Banning Synthetic Cannabis

Before police slapped cuffs on Nguyen back in 2015, his Cloud 9 smoke shops had been the target of some serious controversy. The shops have a reputation for selling synthetic cannabinoid products— known in the U.S. as “K2” or “Spice”—more or less openly. Because as law enforcement and prosecutors have found, synthetic cannabinoid products are often cocktails of otherwise legal chemicals. In fact, calling them “synthetic cannabinoids” is somewhat of a misnomer. These products don’t contain THC, just dangerous chemical mixtures designed to simulate the same psychoactive effects.

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