Lexington police cracked down Monday on the illegal sale of synthetic marijuana at seven locations around town.
After executing search warrants at the seven stores, police seized $49,000 of "synthetic cannabinoids" and arrested 16 people, said Ken Armstrong, commander of the special investigations section. Police also seized three handguns and drug paraphernalia.
The people charged included owners, managers and employees who knew of the illegal substances possessed and sold in the stores.
The locations searched were the BP station on Oxford Circle; Fast Stop Marathon, 1392 Trent Boulevard; Anniston Mini Mart, 1488 Anniston Drive; Dixie Value Mart, 1875 Augusta Drive; the Marathon at 300 North Martin Luther King Boulevard; Progress Food Mart, 600 North Limestone; the Marathon at 647 West Main Street; and the BP at 2001 Versailles Road.
"These locations were specifically investigated due to citizen complaints and information that the narcotics unit had received," Armstrong said.
Last year, the Kentucky legislature outlawed trafficking in synthetic marijuana. In some instances, it can cause users to hallucinate, Armstrong said.
"We've had some reports in Fayette County of individuals ingesting too much of it and either having an allergic reaction or an overdose reaction to it," Armstrong said.
Synthetic pot looks similar to incense or dried marijuana and can cost $15 to $20 a gram, Armstrong said.
Lexington police informed businesses last year about the change in the law that made synthetic marijuana illegal.
More arrests might be coming as police continue to look for individuals named in warrants, Armstrong said.