Over the past three years, manufacturers and retailers of so-called herbal incenses have popped up in all 50 states. It quickly became a multibillion-dollar industry built on products that had names like Crazy Eyes, Cowboy Kush, and Skull Killa.
Although manufacturers were usually careful to stamp warning labels on the products to avoid liability, users understood that smoking these substances would result in a high because the stuff was soaked with synthetic cannabinoids — man-made chemicals meant to mimic the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana.
Until two months ago, many of these herbal incenses remained legal because state and federal lawmakers couldn’t keep up with the onslaught of new chemicals being churned out by overseas labs and imported by herbal-incense manufacturers. Whenever the government banned one synthetic cannabinoid, chemists simply tweaked their formulations to concoct new, legal replacements that still got people stoned.
Within this dubious industry, Palm Beach’s Mr. Nice Guy earned a reputation as one of the best manufacturers. In just a few hours, it could conjure 15,000 ounces of unnatural intoxication, individually bagged and ready to go. The company offered to ship bulk orders across the country and even trademarked its logo, a yellow smiley face with X’s for eyes. Stamped on each package was the ubiquitous but disingenuous boilerplate: “Not for Human Consumption.”
At the time of the explosion, the DEA had been collecting Mr. Nice Guy packets from around the nation while trying to piece together a case. It was unclear how the smoldering warehouse at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Wilmot Street was going to affect the ongoing investigation. But with enormous profits at stake and customers across the country clamoring for a legal high, it was a safe bet that whoever was at the controls of Mr. Nice Guy had no plans of slowing down.
– Read the entire article at New Times Broward-Palm Beach.