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The police department is in the process of revising outdated codes.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.”

  • Will Henrey

    THANK YOU FLPD for having the communities back! It’s about time we got rid of these so called businesses and cleaned up Forest Lake. Maybe we could conduct some “unannounced” drug checks at the high school too. Get this crappy drug culture out of our town!! It’s illegal and I’m sick and tired of the low life elements it attracts. GOOD RIDDANCE!!

    • Ervin

      They sell marijuana pipes and some incense…U act like they were dealing crack. Im pretty sure they already do “Unannounced” drug checks in the highschool. Oh and the low life element it attracts are people you may never suspect. They are your doctors, lawyers, surgeons, the nice person that lives next door, the guy who sits next to you in church etc..It is not unheard of for cops to even partake in a little weed. The fact is that its not a lot different then alcohol. The sad thing is we will now have another empty business…Maybe someone will open a liquor store in its place adding to the 13 that we already have in this town of 18,000.

    • vance

      Hate to bear the bad news but the town wont change, the only change this causes is making one less tax paying business. I could care less what happens to this store just think it is sad how hard this town makes it for small businesses to survive. Oh and its not a “SO CALLED” business…they are a registered business with a tax id.

  • Erich Kertzscher

    Folks where I work near Columbia Heights on Central Ave would be all closed down as they use Hukka pipes at many establishments. Pretty slippery slope. Muslims would all have to give up ther Shisha’s under this ordinance.

  • Let it be

    Come on, really? Will, you’d be amazed at the people that are unwinding with a joint rather than a beer these days. Hardly the low lifes that you describe them as. Paula is a great business owner and isn’t selling to minors. How about the sex shop on Main St. That is more of a creepy eye sore than anything.. or the fact that FL Highschool kids are talking about the E-Cig crib on their Facebooks and posting about their new favorite flavors like Fruit Strip Gum. Tell me that is not directed at our youth.. There are much bigger battles to fight in this town than to shut down a responsible business owners business in the name of Drug Fighting… Stop worrying about Marijuana and start finding meth labs

  • ernie marfield

    will never stand up in court. another city council overreaching their power. will end up costing the city millions in court costs.

  • Will Henrey

    Finding a sliver of people who use it for a legitimate purpose does not legitimize companies that are 99.9% built on the illegal substance abuse black market. While I agree with the slippery slope idea in principle we also need to defend our community’s ability to raise kids in a safe and healthy environment. Some religions practice and encourage the beating of wives, slavery and human sacrifice but I don’t accept it here! It’s about time we started using some common sense and stop bending over backwards in an attempt to appear tolerant of things you know are wrong.

  • sharon miller

    I think they need leave well enough alone a business in this economy is important for those who dont like it dont shop there leave it for those who do keep your own house clean not your neighbors a shop adds character to an area they sell hukkas at jungle jims food stores for pete sake no reason to have ruined this womans biz. she has to eat whats this country coming to it’s ok to be a closet drunken woman in a nice neighborhood but one cant smoke a plant that unlike tobacco dont cause cancer cells i hope things turn back around for this womans biz. she worked hard to build it like any other she took pride in her shop seems there mite be more serious matters in life to address stop violence not life

  • Jamie Sellers

    People are still going to buy them, now the money is just going to leave the community….

  • joe

    We sure have “Freedom” here in Forest Lake.

  • common sense

    i could buy the components to make a pipe at the local hardware store are we going to shut them down too?

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