Two Missouri businessmen face synthetic pot charges

Kevin Bay

The operators of a Columbia business face federal charges of distributing more than $2 million of synthetic marijuana.

Kevin Bay and John Hawkins appeared in federal court Thursday in Jefferson City on a 21-count indictment. Bay is the owner of Bocomo Bay, which he operates with Hawkins.

Attorney Dan Viets said both men pleaded not guilty. Viets, who represents Hawkins, said he plans to challenge whether the synthetic items the store sold actually are illegal under federal law.

Prosecutors allege the drugs were sold under various names, including "Aromatic Potpourri" and "Kind Fruit Punch."

The indictment includes charges of conspiracy and distribution of drugs and drug paraphernalia. Bay also faces money laundering charges and Hawkins faces a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.