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City Bans New Head Shops With Urgency Ordinance

An ordinance passed Tuesday will put a moratorium on tobacco shops for 45 days while the council considers whether to ban new head shops permanently.

The City Council voted to place a moratorium on new tobacco shops Tuesday in the wake of public uproar over the opening of a new head shop in the heart of .

The urgency ordinance passed in a 4-1 vote with Councilman Tom Adams as the lone dissenter. It bans the issuance of business licenses to new head shops for 45 days while the council considers whether to make the ban permanent.

According to some residents, the moratorium came too late. A new head shop, O.G. Smoke Shop, obtained a business license and will take over a storefront at 512 South Myrtle Avenue.

Several residents decried the shop's opening at the council meeting Tuesday, saying that head shops increase the availability of drug paraphernalia like glass pipes and bongs used to smoke marijuana, methamphetamine and other illicit substances.

Pam Fitzpatrick, owner of the toy store in Old Town, said a moratorium should be passed even though it wouldn't keep O.G. out.

"I want to send a message to O.G. Smoke Shop that people don’t want them here," she said.

Collin Spencer, listed as the owner of O.G. on its business license, did not return a message seeking comment on this story. The company's website boasts that its Azusa location carries "the largest selection of glassware in the SGV. Hand pipes, water pipes, specialty pipes, and hookah pipes."

Before the moratorium passed, Jamie Holes, parent of a student at , said the city should not just wind up confining smoke shops to certain zones. She wanted them banned outright.

"I’m concerned that we may be unsuccessful in dealing with a problem that we’re not directly addressing," Holes told the council. "We’re asking you to reduce access and availability of drug paraphernalia and synthetic drugs in the community and to our youth."

With the moratorium's passage, the city will now have 45 days before it must take up the issue again. The ban can be extended to one or two years following a public hearing, City Attorney Craig Steele said. That time would allow the council to determine whether to ban the shops entirely or relegate them to certain zones.

Three smoke shops currently operate in Monrovia, and they will not be affected by the ban, Steele said. But the moratorium does make a “pretty strong community statement about the nature of that type of business in the city and what the council’s feeling is...," he said.

In voting against the moratorium, Adams clarified that he was only against the use of urgency ordinances and would support a normal ordinance establishing a moratorium.

Jamie Holes April 07, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Although dangers exist for marijuana users of all ages, risk is greatest for the young. For them, the impact of marijuana on learning is critical, and pot often proves pivotal in the failure to master vital interpersonal coping skills or make appropriate life-style choices. Thus, marijuana can inhibit maturity. Another concern is marijuana’s role as a "gateway drug," which makes subsequent use of more potent and disabling substances more likely. The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found adolescents who smoke pot 85 times more likely to use cocaine than their non–pot smoking peers. And 60 percent of youngsters who use marijuana before they turn 15 later go on to use cocaine. But many teens encounter serious trouble well short of the "gateway." Marijuana is, by itself, a high-risk substance for adolescents. More than adults, they are likely to be victims of automobile accidents caused by marijuana’s impact on judgment and perception. Casual sex, prompted by compromised judgment or marijuana’s disinhibiting effects, leaves them vulnerable not only to unwanted pregnancy but also to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Sharon Carlson April 07, 2012 at 05:09 PM
No Robert,,,I didn't say that at all,,,yes kids can find drugs anywhere, I'm talking about families with small children that go to the toy store, ice cream store,,movies,,just a wonderful place to take the kids on the week-end,,holidays. Take the business somewhere else, but not in the middle of where all these activities are going on.
Sharon Carlson April 07, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Thank you Jamie Holes for saying exactly what was on my mind,,,you stated it so well,,,I agree 100%.
Jamie Holes April 07, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Sharon, and any other community members who would like more information about the concerns and need to make sure we, in partnership with the school, police, and city officials make the best strategic moves to appropriately deal with the concerns this new head shops has triggered, please contact me directly at sothnkful@aol.com or (626)354-0296.
Jamie Holes April 07, 2012 at 06:05 PM
MHS students currently report 20% use rate among 16 yr old boys and 17% with the same age girls. Not to mention the extremely harmful synthetic marijuana (spice and K2) and synthetic methamphetamine (bath salts) that these stores are allowed to sell because they ar currently unregulated. http://www.scpr.org/news/2011/02/16/24126/dea-warns-synthetic-drugs-bath-salt-and-spice/ THERE ARE local zoning ordinances and policies that the city CAN draft and pass to restrict and regulate these businesses.
Gayle M. Montgomery April 07, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Jamie, yes we, in the collective, have a responsibility to keep our children safe, but we disagree on methodology. We make a law that says these types of stores are illegal for children to enter, and we require the merchant to card each purchaser to prove he or she has a legal right to purchase. But we do not ban the store for consenting adults. In a need to police the potential activity of children, I am effectively being policed in the process. I do not want the merchandise, though there are pretty ones in Venice Beach that might make nice vases. Because some children do not control and supervise their children, if I follow your logic, a merchant is kept from having a legal business, and adults are precluded from buying a legal product. You effectively allow parents to abrogate their parental responsibilities when you make their decisions for them. Parenting does not stop when your kids are grown. Just call me the Granny from Hell! Ask my grandkids! Do you not take your kids to concerts at the Hollywood Bowl to learn about and appreciate music? I have gotten some of the best contact highs while enjoying a concert or twenty. It was not what I came for or wanted, but people blaze at concerts, and I still take the kids to learn about culture. Make something out of reach to kids, and you draw attention to it making it highly desirous to them.
Tom Adams April 07, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Is there a study showing alcohol use by MHS students? If that number was above 20% should we ban alcohol?
Jill Ramirez April 07, 2012 at 06:50 PM
I dont think anyone on here is disputing the harmful effects of such drugs on our youth and without a doubt do not want any of our children to have access to street drugs. What we are saying is, this store is a legal business not a (back door drug house) but a legal business that will be licensed and I am sure monitored closely by authorities. I am not a small business person, nor have any knowledge on "Headshops" in fact, I thought that was a typo. But again, as a mother of sons, I can rest assure that I have done my part in educating my sons that they will have no business there. In fact, I am confident! I would love to see a book store or a sporting good store personally, however since I do not have the means to open a small business, as a resident welcome anyone that will put money into my city and encourage the City Council to do as well.
Sharon Carlson April 07, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I don't understand all the complication of this issue,,,it just sends the wrong messsage to have this type of business right smack in the middle of Old Town,,,Just go else where and not right on Myrtle,,,my husband has been in Monrovia for 35 years and remembers when it was not a nice place to bring up a family,,,,now that has all changed, which has taken years,,,why do we want to let this type of business in our down town, with the new Library,,the park,,,so much positive going on,,,come on,,,, it only makes sense,,,they could open up away from the area,,,
Chris Ziegler April 07, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Have the existing shops shown to be a problem? The fact that the local market supports so many shops is an undeniable commentary on us. Regarding 'Protecting our youth'...... Just to give some perspective, According to recruiting guidelines for the U.S. Navy, prospects are allowed enlistment even if they admit to using marijuana and/or cocaine, as long as it wasn't within the last year and didn't exceed a threshold considered to be an addiction. To give that some contrast, the Navy will not accept prospects that fail height/weight standards. Point being, experimentation/minor use is not a job killer, being fat is. Are our energies properly focused? I further find it hard to swallow that a community is serious about protecting their youth when; 1) The majority of motorists are driving 10 MPH or so over the speed limit on residential streets and are often distracted by phones. 2) They feed their kids inappropriate amounts of crap food and ban most forms of enjoyable physical activity 3) Kids are denied after-school use of campuses and are parks are neglected.
Gayle M. Montgomery April 07, 2012 at 07:55 PM
In some circles, Tom, the answer becomes a resoundingly yes, and yet look at what happened to our nation when we did ban it. There were ships off shore that fine, upstanding citizens (like my grandparents) went to to drink and gamble. Go take a tour of the Lake at Lake Arrowhead where my folks live, and they will point out the spots where hooch was being sold. Ask the mothers of MADD about alcohol. They will rail its woes with stories to match. It has its demons, though it certainly has its benefits (prescribed by some doctors to seniors in rest homes for medicinal purposes). But I do believe i am on to something with banning kids from the shops and/or requiring the merchant to card each purchaser. The onus is then on the merchant to comply with the law in that respect while still allowed to earn his/her livelihood. A failure to follow the law in that respect, will cause the store to be shut down or suspend activities for a period of time.
Gayle M. Montgomery April 07, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Boy are you spot on on the driving, Chris. Coming out of Jimmy O'Balles the other night after campaigning, it took a very long time to get across the street safely (On Colorado near Recreation Park). There was a steady stream of Bubba Trucks and SUVs all barreling down that residential neighborhood way above the speed limit. I wondered where are the cops when you need them, BUT, I know where they are (warning, here comes a pet peeve). They are parking in THE RED impeding views on street corners looking for quotas/quarry elsewhere. I avoid going down Myrtle because those going westbound do not pay attention to traffic at the street corners. It's bad.
Gayle M. Montgomery April 07, 2012 at 08:04 PM
When I went to high school in the late 60s, graduating in 70s, I heard these lame excuses about gateway drugs. Face it, whip cream cans (how many of us loved to take shots of whip cream straight out of the can in the fridge when mom wasn't looking?) can now be a gateway drug. Kids were smoking beadies for a while. Something about cloves in that one. As those God awful commercials will attest, smoking cigarettes is far more toxic. How many parents puff those buggers in homes with their kids, and why do we allow them to be sold in our community. Kids might get a hold of them and smoke or light the town on fire. For that matter, tight underwear can be a killer too. Let's ban underwear sales because someone can get a circulatory issue. Don't sell candy, because some people are prone to diabetes. For God's sake, BAN THE EASTER BUNNY. He pushes sugar and grass (filled baskets) to our kids. Happy Easter, Passover, Weekend all!
Jamie Holes April 07, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Actually it is NOT legal to sell drug paraphernalia, and marijuana IS still illegal problem is the state law has a loop hole that these business use to sell illegal products without getting in trouble. Tightening up the local ordinances and definitions will help the planning commission and police department minimize the negative affects of what we risk with saturation of synthetic drugs and drug paraphernalia. I agree, we don't want or need a "police state", it is only one strategy along with strengthening our neighborhoods, school based programs, more Friday night live activities for the kids. Many of these things are happening, we should not neglect or deny the responsibility of using local ordinance opportunities to protect the health and safety of our community. Nor should we sacrifice it in the name of economic development.
Gayle M. Montgomery April 07, 2012 at 08:09 PM
So, let's take on that Gateway Drug theory: http://scienceblog.com/12116/study-says-marijuana-no-gateway-drug/ http://stopthedrugwar.org/speakeasy/2009/may/28/research_proves_marijuana_not_ga http://norml.org/news/2002/12/03/marijuana-not-a-gateway-to-hard-drug-use-rand-study-saysconclusions-raise-serious-doubts-regarding-the-legitimacy-of-us-drug-policy http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20015429-10391704.html
Gayle M. Montgomery April 07, 2012 at 09:24 PM
It is noble to think we are protecting our kids, but what are we doing to provide opportunities for them within the community. If they hang out and act like teens downtown, we do not provide many opportunities for them and rail about them. To me, that seems a little hypocritical. We not treat most like sentient human beings and ban field trips, fund raisers, and plays. We have a long way to go beyond head shops.
Robert Ming Chou April 07, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Sharon, I'm pretty sure the small children (a) don't know what those bongs /pipes are for. (b) will come across them anyway (you did didnt you? and you are ok?) (c) are not in any danger whatsoever from walking close to the shops or even by the shops. Just because they are in close proximity to something doesnt mean they will adopt whatever that thing is. That's like saying we have to ban condoms from grocery stores because that's going to make them have sex. No gun shops are allowed either cause that's going to make them go crazy and kill people. Look the point is this: there is no way to protect kids from everything and even if you try, they are still going to do it behind your back if they want. I personally know many good upstanding citizens who smoke weed recreationally and i know a whole hell of a lot of screw-ups that do no drugs/dont drink at all. Lets stop demonizing these things when its the people's own fault.
Sharon Carlson April 07, 2012 at 10:11 PM
These places do NOT belong in a family originated area,,,brings in the WRONG crowd,,,I don't care if they want to start a business,,its their choice but not there,,,
Jill Ramirez April 08, 2012 at 12:59 AM
I am kind of confused now Sharon, you dont mind if it's in Monrovia but not in the Old Town area or are you opposed within the city limits? You say they can open the shops but not in "your backyard" is how it is coming across. Patch loves to do polls, I suggest they do a poll of what stores/businesses people visit on Myrtle. I think you would be surprised. Personally I am up on Myrtle most given weekends, at a restaurant, pub or the movies. Other those, I cant think of any of the other businesses/stores I have visited within the last year other than Styx. My point is, what is good for one person, might not be what is good for all. We all have tastes and our cities should reflect all tastes.
Sharon Carlson April 08, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Jill, personally I don't like these kind of places, Head shops. But I'm being realistic, I'm trying to accept they want to start a business and if Monrovia allows it, then so be it,,But I take my young grandchildren to Old Town often,,it's a nice place for families,,also I have alot of friends that frequent there on week-end, holidays,,,All I'm asking is why they can't locate their business in a differant area. I seriously think it will ruin the atmosphere in Old Town.
Jill Ramirez April 08, 2012 at 02:26 AM
I respect your opinion, but you will still be able to bring your grandchildren to Old Town. Are you thinking that such a shop will bring hordes of unsightly people or activities within a stones throw from the police station? I live a block from Myrtle and again, I very much enjoy my evenings up there, as well as my teenage sons. I am not worried they will come across anything or anyone that isn't already in the real world because I am in constant conversation with them on the right and wrong. In fact, I highly doubt this store will put Monrovia on the map where bad people will say "Lets go get some ?? pipes in Monrovia and cause trouble while we are there". It will most likely be used by our own citizens. Old Town will still be a nice place for families, and it's Stepford/ Mayberry image wont be scarred by one store.
Sharon Carlson April 08, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Jill, alot of things can happen before it is noticed. Nothing good can come from a business like that in Old Town. It just brings in the wrong kind of people,,fine if alot of family things weren't going on. It just leaves me with uneasy feelings about this. I know for a fact that many of the stores don't like the idea,,and want this business owner to know that. I respect your opinion also, so I guess we will have to agree to disagree.
Kate K. April 08, 2012 at 04:01 AM
Jamie, sadly our youth are not going to be protected from seeing drug use or paraphernalia, with or without this shop. Cable and satellite television is in most homes in the U.S. that have children. Surveys show that most children, especially teens, watch programs their parents do not know of or approve of. Tv is watched by most teens without any supervision or limits, either in the living room or on-line via the internet. Many popular shows (especially with teens) feature and even glamorize drug and alcohol abuse: Among the most popular are Breaking Bad (a school teacher turns meth cooker/dealer), Weeds (suburban mom supplements income as pot dealer), and Jersey Shore (so-called reality of so-called kids binge drinking and snorting everything and anything). No, its not attractive having tobacco-cum-head shops on our streets. Many of us are a bit dismayed by some of the local liquor stores and their customers, too. Our vices are seldom pretty. (At least we don't have any casinos here.) But our culture now is very accepting (some might say encouraging) of various forms of substance abuse: the absence of head-shops here is not going to protect one's child from exposure to that aspect of our culture. Rather than shielding the kids from drugs and other vices, perhaps we should work harder at educating them about the dangers and their own inability to make accurate judgements about risks until the prefrontal cortex of their brains become fully developed (in early 20s).
Kate K. April 08, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Perhaps I can clear up the misunderstanding: Our Constitution prevents us (individuals, governments, organizations, etc.) from stopping legal businesses from opening just because we feel they "send the wrong message". That is not a valid argument against a person's freedom to have a business. Who is to say which message is wrong? Many of us might say liquor stores, pubs, shops with corsets in windows and R-rated movies are wrong. But they are all legal. (And posters for R-rated movies are highly visible near the toy store, ceramics store and ice cream shops here.) Yes, there used to be laws in communities preventing things a majority (or those in charge) feared were a 'slippery slope' to vice and 'lower' lifestyle: These were called "Blue Laws", and many communities still had them until recently. As late as 1975, it was a misdemeanor for a woman to appear wearing an apron in front of a/her house in San Marino. Many communities made it illegal to sell one's home to people of "undesirable" ethnicities. At the time, these laws were seen as protecting the families, too, by some people. These laws were challenged in our federal courts over the last 50 years, and struck down as violating the spirit of our Constitution.
Kate K. April 08, 2012 at 04:53 AM
In order to keep Old Town "a nice place for families", what should the rules be, Sharon? No drunks in the bars? No smoking on the sidewalks? No nude art in the galleries? No short skirts, 4-letter words or provocative tattoos on the young people walking down the street? Could we all ever agree on these things? Disneyland is a private business on private property and even they cannot control all of that. A municipality cannot and should not try to. If people do NOT want the smoke shop, they will not shop there and it will go out of business. If we really WANT the "Family-friendly" businesses like Cold-stone, Dollmakers and Paint-N-Play to stay and flourish, the BEST AND ONLY WAY is to SPEND OUR MONEY THERE! Admiring them from the sidewalk will not keep them in business, BUYING from them is the only thing that will. And their success is the ONLY thing that will ensure MORE such businesses.
Kate K. April 08, 2012 at 06:33 AM
Thanks for the interesting info about the recruitment policies of our military: This is new to me, and enlightening regarding the military's perception of our current norms, what our young people are doing, and what is more or less important to the military in recruiting soldiers.
Tom Adams April 09, 2012 at 04:08 PM
There was a similar "smoke shop" on Myrtle for a long time with no complaints that I ever heard but then no one was drawing any attention to it. That shop moved up on Foothill last year, several blocks from the other one on Foothill and no complaints that I was aware of. Just maybe the one that was on Myrtle so long with no issues survived because no one started the campaign against it? One thing is certain, not one child was harmed because they were there.
Chris Ziegler April 09, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Tom, Thanks for the insight! I've walked past the smoke shop countless times and have never seen a customer, much less a minor attempting a purchase. Seems like this is a well-intended but unnecessary distraction of our limited resources - I really hate to see intrusive governmental actions employed as a first course of action. Especially, when there is a record that indicates a non-issue. Ultimately, Monrovia consumers will determine how many and what type of business exist in our town.
Gayle M. Montgomery April 09, 2012 at 05:57 PM
I shopped in the other smoke shop. Not that I smoke ANYTHING, but it sold lottery tickets. I vaguely remember seeing other "smoking products" in there, though I may be wrong. I think I did because, at the time, it hit a somewhat discordant note with me, but I may be wrong. You realize, of course, what this controversy does, don't you? We've given them more advertising in this conveyance then they could have paid for at less cost. There's going to be a rash of individuals paying attention to something that otherwise most probably would have been ignored. Great for business. I personally have a problem with the "my values are better than your values" concept of this thread. When they knees used to let me, I walked up and down Myrtle with some regularity and poked my head in many of the shops. I don't remember the name of the place that was on the opposite side of the street from the Doll Makers, but it was an ethereal book store and merchandising place of things I considered rather "Oony Goony." I thought why would we need that on Myrtle? It lasted quite a while. I didn't protest, not that I thought no one would listen, and perhaps they would not have, but because, for some people, there is a niche for such things. I winced at the comment that said "at least we don't have casinos." If we had Native Americans, we would. For that matter, it would derive revenue. I don't need to go there, but they do make money and provide jobs.
Erin Thorn May 02, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Those statistics are much lower than the actual numbers. I have a current student and a recent grad and I hear things that make me feel like I had been walking around with blinders on. I'm not sure you would ever get the true numbers, but we should give that survey to seniors. Not sure what the impact of a "head shop" would be. I do know of a little market that was selling Spice within 100 feet of an elementary school, while "employing" teenagers. I do think he sold it because he knew there was a market here in Monrovia for it.

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