Paraphernalia plan threatens to shutter business

Dazy Maze owner liquidating inventory in anticipation of new ordinance


Dazy Maze has been in business for 15 years. (Photo by Kat Ladwig)
Dazy Maze has been in business for 15 years. (Photo by Kat Ladwig)

Clint Riese
News Editor

There will be ramifications for the local business community should the Forest Lake City Council enact a proposed drug paraphernalia ordinance at its meeting next Monday, May 13.

The update to the city code being pushed by Forest Lake Police Department administration would make it illegal to possess or sell drug paraphernalia. It would also shutter a Forest Lake business of 15 years.

In fact, Dazy Maze owner Paula Schleis said this week she is already liquidating her inventory in anticipation of the new ordinance, which would take effect 30 days after its approval.

Just the publicity surrounding the proposal has had such an effect on business that Schleis said she would likely close the shop at 767 S. Lake St. even if the law stays the same. Schleis confirmed she has contacted a real estate agent.

“It’s just totally shot my business into the ground,” she said.

The police department is in the process of revising outdated codes. In updating the language of the code involving drugs, department administrators decided to also seek this significant policy change. They propose making it a misdemeanor to deliver (or sell), possess with the intent to deliver, or manufacture with the intent to deliver drug paraphernalia. The proposal identifies as a petty misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

The new ordinance would also define drug paraphernalia with a list updated to include items such as harvesting kits, processing kits, weighing scales, packaging materials and roach clips intended for use with controlled substances.

Glass pipes, a staple of Dazy Maze’s business, are listed as drug paraphernalia in the current ordinance. The sticking point for local businesses selling pipes lies in the enforcement language. Stores currently can legally sell such items if they do not have knowledge that they will be used with controlled substances. The amended ordinance would make it illegal for anyone to sell the items with reasonable knowledge that the buyer intends to use it for an illegal act.

Schleis feels this change would encroach on residents’ rights.

“I don’t really think it’s fair for the government to regulate what people do in their own homes,” she said. “Are they going to target the liquor stores next?”

She also questions the effect the code change would have.

“They’re just going to go to a different town,” she said of customers.

Quite the Trip

Now an Arizona resident, Schleis in 1998 opened Dazy Maze next to the liquor store she owned on Broadway Avenue. When hand-blown glass became popular in the late 1990s, she put a display of it in her liquor store.

“Before you know it, I had a big clientele,” she said.

With space available next door, she opened Dazy Maze.

Schleis, 53, sold the liquor store in 2001 and moved her self-described “hippy shop” to its current location the next year. The brightly colored store gained steady business for its blown glass pipes, as well as a line of ’70s-related products such as incense, tie-dye clothing and hemp jewelry.

If the store has a negative connotation, Schleis said it is undeserved. Not once has Dazy Maze sold meth pipes or dangerous synthetic drugs known as bath salts or spice, she said.

“You have to be 18 with a valid ID to even walk into my store,” she added.

Business was steady until the police department’s proposal came about, Schleis said. News of it came directly from the police department and caught her off guard.

Councilman Ben Winnick informed her he would oppose the ordinance, but she feels the proposal will carry the council.

In any case, Schleis is ready to move on.

“It is what it is,” she said. “I’m over it.”