Smoke shop protest
MANSFIELD — More than a dozen people showed up to protest a new smoke shop in Mansfield on Saturday.
They say Marley'z Lounge at Main Street and Pleasant Ridge Drive is a "head shop," and object to its proximity to neighborhood schools, including Mansfield Legacy High, less then a half-mile away.
"We don't need it here in Mansfield," said Pam Rudnicki, one of the picketers.
The store is scheduled to open soon. It will reportedly sell tobacco and K-2, an herb police say produces a high like marijuana, only it's legal.
"We don't want a head shop in our area," said Pastor Michael Evans of Bethlehem Baptist Church. "We don't want it because they also sell drug paraphernalia."
"I know they are going to sell the K-2 here as well," said Julie Short, who is a candidate for Mansfield City Council. "It's a chemically-engineered herb to be like marijuana, and that's dangerous."
Demonstrators said the landlord of the shopping complex has the power to cancel the lease to "Marley'z Lounge." They are also seeking a city ordinance to keep this type of store away from schools.
But area resident Jeffrey Haas said he personally doesn't see a problem with the smoke shop as long as they follow the law and check the ID of patrons.
"I have no beef with their protest, but this is about the most tone deaf thing I've ever seen," Haas said. "We got 40 million gallons of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. Gee, I don't know — which is worse?"