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Hudson Police Issue 52 Drug Paraphernalia Citations to The Hideaway Smoke Shop

Hudson Police have confiscated 52 pieces of merchandise and issued $12,480 worth of drug paraphernalia citations to the manager of The Hideaway, but a case currently pending in Hudson Municipal Court could render all the citations moot.

Hudson Police confiscated 52 pieces of merchandise and issued $12,480 worth of drug paraphernalia citations to the manager of The Hideaway on Monday afternoon. Shop owner Wael Sakallah has 52 citations coming his way as well, according to Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen.

"They were selling drug paraphernalia like Left of Center was," Jensen said. 

Local police conducted a similar operation at Left of Center, the downtown smoke shop, in May 2012. Municipal court proceedings began over two days last month on that case and are set to continue on Thursday.

Jensen said the items confiscated were similar to the ones taken from Left of Center last May, including glass pipes and one-hitters. Jensen also said police have visited the shop numerous times since it opened in October, but this incident was the first time contraband was on display.

Since the incident at Left of Center last May, two new smoke shops have opened in Hudson — Smokedale Tobacco and The Hideaway.

Is it drug paraphernalia or isn't it?

The seizing of pipes and other merchandise from smoke shops is a controversial subject. It is common to seize such items as drug paraphernalia only when drug residue is found on them, but new items on store shelves aren't prosecutable under most laws.

"We were always under the assumption that if the pipe hadn't been used, it wasn't considered drug paraphernalia," Jensen told Patch in May. "Back at the end of March, I had seen an article in regards to Moorhead, MN, winning a court case in federal court in regards to their drug paraphernalia ordinance."

Andrew Nelson, the attorney representing both smoke shops, says the Moorhead case actually is still pending, and the chief acted too early. He also noted that The Hideaway also has locations operating without incident in Minneapolis, Oakdale and Rosemount — all cities that have similar drug paraphernalia ordinances.

"I don't think the court is going to say, 'The Hudson PD says that this is drug paraphernalia, so it is, and you're guilty,'" Nelson said last May. "Everybody knows that these items are not drug paraphernalia until someone adds the drug element to it. Everybody knows that. What they're trying to do is issue citations on the chance that somebody could use these for an illicit purpose. We have different laws in this country for that purpose."

In April, Jensen sent a notice to Left of Center informing them that he was changing the way the City of Hudson's drug paraphernalia ordinance would be enforced. 

"Obviously we have a drug problem here in town," Jensen said in May. "With our limited resources, we can only do so much. If we can slow down people's ability to get drug paraphernalia, hopefully we're slowing down some of the drug use that's going on."

Though Jensen declined to comment on the trial currently underway, he did say that charges on The Hideaway likely would be dropped if the City of Hudson is not successful in prosecuting Left of Center.

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Mark Felton January 09, 2013 at 04:05 PM
It is sending the correct message. The HPD does not make law, and they are obligated to enforce it. Do you have the right to poison your body? Of course you do. Want to smoke pot, in your own property? HPD is not obligated to investigate, nor are they likely to want to. What I DO expect of HPD, is to support our community standards by responding to behavior that is intentionally provocative, and intended to move the line. Be honest, about this, you don't open a head-shop to sell cigarettes, or offer paraphernalia to use tobacco in; everybody knows this. You are either provoking, with the intent to overwhelm the system in hopes of weakening resistance to recreational drug use, or you foolishly believe that this community is that stupid. I applaud the courage of the HPD, in pursuing what is popularly mocked but still their responsibility. (Whether you like it, or not.)
Kevin Kubera January 09, 2013 at 04:26 PM
I bought a water pipe from there. I absolutely WILL NOT use it to smoke any illegal substances. I bought flavored tobacco (hookah) to use in there. Being in the military, my career depends on my not doing drugs. They can't just assume that everyone who buys something like that is going to use it for nefarious purposes.
bblair January 09, 2013 at 04:43 PM
One causes thousands of deaths, breaks up homes and stems violence and the other happens to be illegal. Even the most unreasonable of people would have to agree alcohol is a far worst evil than marijuana. Yet because its “legal” we can poor down our scotch pop our scripts and talk about the have nots. Legal never meant it was moral but society likes to draw that line. The argument that it’s right because it’s legal never was a very good one.
Stella January 09, 2013 at 05:21 PM
All the comments about alcohol destroying families and causing harm are absolutely correct. No arguement there. However, it you think that marijuana is "harmless" you had better think again. Ask all those parents whose teen children have chosen to use instead of get an education. Ask all those parents of dealers who chose to make this a "career." Ask all those parents whose children started out with marijuana and moved on to something "more fun" who are now either in treatment or dead. Get out there and work with people who thought that marijuana was harmless who can't stop using it. I could say that alcohol is "harmless" for me, too, just because I can stop at one drink and not have any for months at a time and because my family is still intact even though we have an occassional glass of wine with a meal. The fact is that it IS harmful for others and SO IS MARIJUANA.
Stella January 09, 2013 at 05:48 PM
I know PLENTY of GOOD parents out there whose kids use substances and they don't. Please don't assume that all people/kids who use are from bad homes, because they are NOT!. Take your own advice and "open your eyes."
Diane January 09, 2013 at 06:44 PM
Either drug paraphernalia is illegal or not....you can't convince anyone that one hitters and such are used for anything but pot
Kevin Nelson January 09, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Stella, Please educate yourself before you cast stones. The glass pipes in question were actually designed to be used with an array or herbs (that are completely legal by the way). Both establishments in Hudson have an expert that will testify to that point. You can be for or against marijuana all you want, that is not the argument. The argument is the interpretation/ or misinterpretation of the law as it was enforced. If that's the case they should remove all of the apples from the grocery stores.
Renee January 09, 2013 at 06:56 PM
If marijuana were legalized it could be regulated and inspected just like alcohol is. There are probably thousands of people in this state alone that could benefit from the medicinal effects of marijuana. I heard a report that the states that recently legalized pot project sales tax revenue in the tens of millions of dollars. In a state that says it wants smaller government and more rights for it's citizens (i.e. open carry) I think it's time to consider decriminalizing marijuana.
Paine Reliever January 09, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Stella, there is no doubt that both alcohol and pot can have negative effects. I think labeling pot as a gateway drug is way over exagerated. My point is that our police department is underfunded and undermanned. Why the chief wants to make more work with something that will have little result is lost on me. It will cost the city court costs for nothing. His interpretation of the law is flawed. People who smoke pot are more likely to sit on the couch and order a pizza than to get in a car and endanger others or start domestic disputes etc. the only reason marijuana was made illegal was so a chemical company could sell synthetic rope to the navy without competition. Again, show me the cost to the city of pot and compare it to cost of alcohol related costs before we invest more time or $ into this issue. Stella, why are you not picketing the liquor stores on Sundays?
bblair January 10, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Paine, yes you are, otta know
Paine Reliever January 10, 2013 at 01:43 AM
Pass the Doritos.
yomammy January 10, 2013 at 12:41 PM
yeah...people use bongs and one hitters for tobacco all the time....
yomammy January 10, 2013 at 12:42 PM
MJ causes PLENTY of problems...
yomammy January 10, 2013 at 12:44 PM
wow....just wow.
yomammy January 10, 2013 at 12:45 PM
if the parents were home smoking weed instead of working...think of all the time they could spend with their children!! yay!!! Dunno about you, but i chhose not to be out of my mind in front of my kids.
yomammy January 10, 2013 at 12:46 PM
facepalm....
yomammy January 10, 2013 at 12:54 PM
I know for a fact people go out smoking weed in their cars and "hang out" its imparied driving...period. People do it. The "tax" money people feel will bring glorious buckets of money to the state/feds will be eaten up by new .gov regulating agencies and cessation programs, and other issues stemming from its use. Do I think pot is bad? not really. I dont use it becuse I figure I would like it too much... :) One vice is enough for me (beer). I just think it would open a can of worms the US could not reasonably deal with.
Paine Reliever January 10, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Again, how many police man hours and costs are spent responding to or pulling over and arresting impaired drivers that are under the influence of pot? How many car accidents that injure, kill or endanger our residents? How many ambulance calls and deaths by accident or assault as a result of pot being used? How many calls of domestic violence, bar fights on the weekends etc does the the city. If the question is how can the US reasonably deal with it, I would say deal with it the same way we deal with alcohol. Regulate it, tax it etc. It makes no sense to give the alcohol industry a pass when you look at how expensive it is to deal with in our community. I would think the police chief could show us some comparisons in costs to justify this action besides just stating that "we have a drug problem." The facts show that the bigger and more expensive problem we have is an alcohol problem.
Patrick Üs January 10, 2013 at 03:35 PM
Give me an avocado, a snorkel, and an ice pick
Patrick Üs January 10, 2013 at 03:46 PM
You could fight a better war on drugs by closing down the pharmacies. Pretty sure there are more severe issues associated with "legal" drugs than pot.
yomammy January 10, 2013 at 04:16 PM
I blame Bush....oh, I mean "previous administration"....
mainstreet January 10, 2013 at 04:52 PM
C'mon now yo. It's Walker's fault!
yomammy January 10, 2013 at 06:17 PM
oh, thats right...sry
yomammy January 11, 2013 at 12:41 PM
I know my limitations. and Alcohol dosent alway make you "angry". If you get that way with booze...you have other issues.
Lu Holter January 11, 2013 at 01:39 PM
I'm going to add my thoughts on this because while it is sparking some excellent discussion, it seems to be getting off track a bit. The issue at hand is not whether marijuana should be legal or if the Hudson police is using their time wisely. The real issue is there is vague Municipal Code that needs to be clarified in order to prevent misunderstandings and tax payer expense. This code is being interpreted different ways by different people and just needs to be spelled out. Hopefully that will be the end result of all of this and everyone will be clear on what the law is. I think it's too bad that some small business owners in the area may end up being penalized for attempting to interpret a vaguely written code.
yomammy January 11, 2013 at 07:02 PM
just like the lefty war on "assault" weapons, you are blaming the tool, not the person. Those pills will do NOTHING by themselves....
yomammy January 11, 2013 at 07:05 PM
my god you are out there..... OH TEH NOES!!!!11!!! THERE IS A PICTURE OF A BEER!!!! WE WALKED BY IT!!!!! NOW I HAVE TO SOBER UP BEFORE I GET IN MY CAR!!!!
Methed Out Teenager January 22, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Stella, you're so wrong about everything you say. I'm not even sure where to begin.
jack ried May 11, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Also who is to blame for these peoples kids making careers out of selling pot? Who is to blame for these kids not getting an education? Its not po, its the older generations people in there 30's and up because about 80% of you used pot as kids but now its a double standard on your kids? Get your head out of your ass stella and actually raise your own kid rather then sit them in front of a tv all day and call it parenting its your own fault that kids are screwed up now days
Gordy Gilbert July 28, 2013 at 06:17 PM
My firends uncle smoked weed once and now he thinks hes a glass of orange juice! Stella, do you ever wonder why everybody here is telling you how stupid you are or would you like me to write an explain it to you for the 40th time? I guess I'd be anonymous too if I were you.

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