Alameda County prosecutors seek shutdown of flavored tobacco, synthetic cannabis company

The Mercury News

LIVERMORE — Alameda County prosecutors are taking aim at a Livermore-based company they claim is illegally selling flavored tobacco products to children and manufacturing illegal synthetic cannabis products.

Calling it an “illegal scheme occurring right under our noses,” District Attorney Pamela Price announced a lawsuit by her office seeking to shut down Apollo Future Technology, which does business as Apollo E-cigs, prosecutors said in a statement Tuesday.

The company, prosecutors said, “poses a grave threat to the children of Alameda County” by allowing children to easily obtain flavored vapes and synthetic marijuana throughout the county — often online, where little, if any, effort was made by Apollo to verify the ages of its customers.

“The issue of minors using vaping and being, essentially, enticed by flavored tobacco products is a very sensitive one in this community and one that the leaders of this community have taken a strong stance against,” Price said during a press conference Wednesday morning in Livermore.

On Friday, the district attorney’s office obtained a temporary restraining order that bars Apollo from selling flavored tobacco products or synthetic cannabis products locally and online pending the resolution of a preliminary injunction hearing on Sept. 21.

Apollo Future Technology did not immediately return calls from this organization seeking comment.

The suit alleges the company uses its Livermore warehouse to sell banned flavored tobacco products – predominately “vapes” and “vape juice” – to individuals under the age of 21, according to the DA’s office.

In addition, prosecutors contend Apollo sold products through its website without verifying the purchasers’ ages as required by state law, illegally shipped its flavored tobacco products through the U.S. Postal Service, and manufactured and sold thousands of synthetic cannabis products in packaging that falsely claimed they were legal, natural industrial hemp products containing less than 0.3 percent THC.

The suit stemmed from a multi-agency investigation conducted by the DA’s office, the Livermore Police Department, the state Department of Public Health and the state Department of Tax and Fee Administration.

It all began when a Livermore school district official noticed that vaping was proliferating on school grounds in the Tri-Valley area, prosecutors said.

Children as young as fifth graders were seen using the highly-addictive devices, said Tracie Christmas, director of student services for the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District. Vaping quickly became “invasive and pervasive” at the district’s schools, she said Wednesday.

Alameda County prosecutors seek shutdown of flavored tobacco, synthetic cannabis company

Primary Sponsor

Get Connected

Karma Koala Podcast

Top Marijuana Blog