Petrogram - Winter 2013 - (Page 16)

FEATURE Just Say No... to (Synthetic) Drugs By Dan Kuhn, Guilday, Schwartz, Simpson, West, Hatch & Lowe, P.A. T he first time I heard of synthetic drugs, I could not believe what I was hearing. I had to be receiving bad information - there is no way that a person (especially a child) could walk into convenience store and buy products that produce the same effects as marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine. Unfortunately, it was not bad information. Anyone with $10 in his or her pocket could buy "bath salts" or "herbal incense" with pictures of cartoon characters on the packaging. These synthetic bath salts and incense products produce the same effects as marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine, or worse. As the father of two young children, this was one of the scariest things I had heard in a long time. The first question that came into my mind was how it is legal to sell these products? Unfortunately there is not a simple answer to this question. The Florida Legislature and Attorney General have taken notice of the sale of synthetic drugs and have added numerous synthetic compounds used to make the drugs to Florida's controlled substances list. This means that the consequences for selling synthetic drugs that include ingredients on the controlled substances list will be the same as if the person was selling actual cocaine or other drugs. However, in response to compounds being added to the controlled substances list, the drug manufacturers will change the ingredients to ones not included on the controlled substances list - substances that produce the same or similar effects. In fact, some of the manufacturers will send a certificate with their synthetic drug products certifying that the product complies with Florida law and does not contain controlled substances. The above-described war between the State of Florida and the synthetic drugs manufacturers has placed commercial landlords in a difficult position. As synthetic drugs are a fairly new issue, it is unlikely that many of you have addressed the sale of synthetic drugs in your contracts with your convenience store operators. As such, in the event your tenant gets caught selling drugs at your facility, you likely would have to rely on a compliancewith-laws provision in your lease to attempt to 16 | View past issues of Petrogram online at terminate the tenant. However, what happens if the tenant is not arrested or if the State tests the product and determines it does not contain a controlled substance? Did the tenant still violate the law such that you could terminate the lease and evict the tenant? In addition, it is likely that your motor fuel brand suppliers have amended your required standards of operation to prohibit the sale of drugs at any branded property. So while you are trying to figure out a way to address the issue with your tenant, your motor fuel brand supplier is putting the pressure on you to take action. The sale of synthetic drugs is a serious issue that could damage your reputation and even expose you to substantial liability. Rather than attempting to govern the sale of synthetic drugs under some provision in your contract that was not designed to address this issue, take the time to review your contract documents and company policies to determine whether you are prepared to address this issue when it arises. Otherwise, you may get caught in a difficult situation with no clear solution. ❍ Dan Kuhn is a shareholder at Guilday, Schwartz, Simpson, West, Hatch & Lowe, P.A. You can reach Dan on the Petroleum Hotline® at 800-226-7091 or

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Petrogram - Winter 2013

Chair’s Perspective
2013 FPMA Patron Members
Florida’s Petroleum Cleanup Program is Undergoing an Overhaul
As C-stores Branch Out, Channel Blurring Blossoms
Just Say No…to (Synthetic) Drugs
Staying Away from Negligent Security Lawsuits
FPMA’s 2013 Scholarship Golf Tournament and Conference of Committees
FPMA Featured Advertiser Marketplace
Calendar of Events
Index of Advertisers/

Petrogram - Winter 2013