A Virginia man who operates a Mayking store that is the focus of a new Letcher County ordinance outlawing the sale of synthetic marijuana say they have done nothing illegal and intend on staying in business.
Mark Vandyke, who operates TFX with his wife Cheryl, says the potpourri, bath salts, and party caps they have been selling at their store are legal products and do not contain any herbal stimulants or the synthetic “cannabanoids” outlawed by the Letcher Fiscal Court earlier this month.
“I sell potpourri to smell good. I don’t sell it for people to light up and smoke,” he said. “This place has never broken the law (and) it has never sold to anyone under age.”
Vandyke telephoned The Mountain Eagle to respond to statements representatives of the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Office and others made about their business during the fiscal court’s discussion of the ordinance during meetings in December and January.
Vandyke said that every item sold in his store “has always been 50-state compliant” and approved by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. He said no one under the age of 18 has bought items at TFX, nor is the establishment responsible for the misuse of any of the items that are sold.
“This place has never broken the law,” he said. “It has never sold to anyone under age. I’m a Godfearing man and I go to church and have children of my own.”
Vandyke also said the potpourri and other items are clearly marked as being unsafe for human consumption.
“Every product I sell says ‘Do not consume,’” Vandyke said, adding that he has no control over what customers do when they leave TFX, a former drive-in restaurant that is accessible to customers only through a small window once used to take and deliver food orders.
“There’s nothing I can do about what someone does with what they buy,” he said.
Vandyke compared his situation to stores that have no control over customers who get high by inhaling the gas used as propellants in cans of air or whipped. “Even Walmart can’t follow you home after you buy Cool Whip,” he said.
Vandyke said he and his wife believe they should have been invited to fiscal court meetings where their store was being discussed.
“No official has spoken to me. No official has spoken to my wife. We should have been notified,” he said.
Vandyke said he and his wife hope to expand the store into a wholesale tobacco outlet that also sells cold sandwiches and drinks.
“We want decent people to come to the window,” he said.