In issuing a 10-day business license suspension, which begins today, enough is enough seemed to be Ocean City’s message to the businesses that knowingly and blatantly violated the town’s synthetic drug ordinance.
After hearing word the stores Cool Topics and New York New York were selling drug paraphernalia and synthetic drugs on the Boardwalk, contrary to the ordinances passed last year banning those marijuana-like substances, the Ocean City Police Department conducted a raid and undercover officers, along with State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby, were able to confirm employees were selling the synthetic drugs and the associated devices used to get high with.
According to the Findings of Fact signed by Acting City Manager Rick Meehan, a few days after Oglesby and officers observed the illegal substances being offered for sale as well as the paraphernalia and other pro-drug merchandise, an undercover cop asked an employee if Cool Topics was selling “Kloud,” which is a cannabimimetic agent that was deemed illegal by Ocean City last year. The employee said they could not sell “Kloud” but pointed the undercover cop to a glass display case that had numerous packets that contained other cannabimimetic agents called “Orange Krush”, “Hawaiian Haze” and “Green Grass.” The employee, in typical salesman fashion, went so far as to recommend the latter as the best way to get high because it was the closest thing to the real deal. The employee went on to sell the officer flavored cigar wraps (blunts) commonly used to smoke marijuana.
A similar sort of situation played out at the neighboring New York New York store the same day when an employee sold the undercover officer a packet of “Green Grass” and a couple pipes to smoke the substance.
As a result of the investigation, search and seizure warrants were executed at the stores, resulting in the confiscation of 72 smoking devices and more than 500 packets of the cannabimimetic agent, among other paraphernalia and substances.
After hearing all the evidence last Friday, Meehan issued a decision that each store would have its license suspended for 10 years — including two weekends — beginning today.
The code allows for an appeal and an attorney for the business owners requested the effective date of the suspension be delayed a week from June 8 to June 15 to avoid of the loss of Air Show weekend sales. The council unanimously rejected that request.
The suspension was warranted and we could even argue it should have been stiffer based off the history of these businesses.
These rogue businesses are often in trouble with the city. Other situations have arose with loud music and former run-ins with authorities over selling counterfeit goods as well as offensive T-shirts. The operators have made it clear they do not care about the law and will sell what they wish when they want.
It would not be surprising to us if a couple months from now after the summer season the businesses still are peddling the illegal substances and return to blasting their music in violation of the town’s noise ordinance.
The city needed to come down hard on the businesses and taking away two weekends of business during a peak time of year for them was justified. We hope the message heard loud and clear, but we have our doubts based off past behavior.