Office of the Attorney General
AG Conway Urges Oil Companies to Eliminate Synthetic Drugs from Retail Stores

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, February 10, 2015  
Contact Information:  Daniel Kemp
Deputy Communications Director
502-696-5659 (office)

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Attorney General Jack Conway, along with 42 other state and territorial attorneys general, today asked nine oil companies to collaborate with their franchisees to help eliminate synthetic drugs from retail locations operating under their brand names, including gas station and convenience stores.

The use of synthetic drugs has increased dramatically over the past four years.  According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, in 2010, more than 11,000 people across the country, many of whom were younger than 17, went to the emergency room after using synthetic marijuana.  That number grew to approximately 28,000 in 2011 and since then, thousands more have been harmed by synthetic drugs. 

“These are dangerous drugs – typically made by backyard chemists – that have the potential to cause serious injury or death,” Attorney General Conway said. “It’s our hope that the oil companies can work as partners in our efforts to keep synthetic drugs out of the hands of young people.”

In a letter to British Petroleum, Chevron Corp., Citgo Petroleum Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp., Marathon Petroleum Corp., Phillips 66, Shell Oil Company, Sunoco, and Valero Energy Corp., the attorneys general express concern over the problem of gas stations and convenience stores operating under brand names of reputable oil companies and selling illegal and extremely dangerous synthetic drugs.  Many of these well-known retail locations give the appearance of safety and legitimacy to dangerous synthetic products.  Enforcing stronger policies against the sale of synthetic drugs in retail locations can protect the brand reputations of these oil companies while also protecting our youth.  

The attorneys general request the following actions be considered by these oil companies to address this growing problem:

• Prohibit franchisees from selling any synthetic drugs;
• Ensure this prohibition is understood by store franchisees and their employees by communicating directly with each of them;
• Establish a point of contact in corporate offices for franchisees, should they have any questions about synthetic drugs;
• Revoke franchisee/franchisor relationship with any gas station or convenience store that sells any kind of synthetic drugs; and
• Report to local law enforcement authorities if any franchisee is selling synthetic drugs.
In addition to Kentucky, the state and territorial attorneys general offices that signed today’s letter include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

A copy of the letter is available here: