EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 21, 2013

Mother says 'I will not be intimidated'

Sued for comments made over 'fake weed'

SEABROOK — Tamara Calabrese says her family has lost everything after her husband became addicted to synthetic cannabinoids, or “fake weed,” and she’s become a force behind the local move to keep the produce, legally sold in town as herbal incense, out of the hands of users.

A mother and wife who saw her son fall victim to synthetic marijuana and her 61-year old husband lose his job, the family savings and retirement due to his addiction to it, Calabrese is now also the defendant in a lawsuit brought against her by the two local stores she’s called out publicly for selling the product.

In his lawsuit brief, attorney Richard Foley claims Calabrase defamed his Seabrook smoke shop clients, Smokers City and the Smoking Monkey, when she said at the selectmen’s meeting that the stores sold synthetic cannabinoid with full knowledge it was harming people. Foley claims Calabrase made similar statements on Facebook pages.

The suit seeks to make Calabrese stop making such statements, she said, and it is also seeking damages.

“They’ve come after me because I named names and called a spade a spade,” Calabrase said last week. “I saw my son and husband addicted. I don’t know what the long-term health affects are for people who become addicted to this stuff. I’ve already lost everything. I have nothing left to lose. They’re trying to intimidate me, trying to make me shut up, but I won’t shut up, and I will not be intimidated.”

Synthetic cannabinoid is chemically treated herbs sold legally as a pleasant-smelling herbal incense. But when smoked, it produces an addictive high many believe is more dangerous than marijuana due to the chemicals that are inhaled. Originally sold under names such of K-2 or Spice, which were since banned, other brands have taken their place. According to Seabrook Sgt. Brett Walker, local police most often see the synthetic cannabinoid brand Bizarro.

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