WEST PITTSTON — After nearly three hours of testimony Wednesday, District Judge Joseph Carmody dismissed charges of selling synthetic marijuana filed against the owners of an Exeter smoke shop earlier this year.
The state office of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation had charged Sharleen Palaima, 62, and her husband, Alphonse Richard Palaima, 64, with selling the synthetic from their business, Magikal Gardens, on Wyoming Avenue in Exeter, from March through July 2012. It was one of many retail smoke stores and gasoline stations around the state raided July 26, 2012, in “Operation Artificial High.”
Peter Moses, the attorney for the Palaimas, said their defense centered on the state’s explicit definitions of synthetic marijuana.
“We argued the substance in question did not fall within the list of banned substances and that the commonwealth failed to supply any lab documentation or testimony to dispute that,” Moses said.
“There are eight substances that are specifically banned in the synthetic marijuana statute,” he said. “The commonwealth failed to establish that any of those eight substances were present in the substances sold by my clients.”
Moses said the Palaima’s have run the shop for about three decades.
“My clients and I are very pleased with today’s outcome. They are thankful they can get back to their business now that this weight is off their shoulders,” he said. “We are very happy the judge entertained our arguments because it is a very complex argument, very scientific in nature, with lab reports that are hard to read. We are grateful the magistrate took the time.”