Piping Hot Over Pot Oriented Shop

Piping Hot Over Pot Oriented Shop
Posted by CN Staff on November 17, 2005 at 08:40:37 PT
By Tad Whitaker 
Source: Marin Independent Journal
California -- A new marijuana paraphernalia shop in downtown Fairfax has prompted the mayor to call for tighter restrictions that would require town approval before another could open.Purple Haze opened late last month. Since then, there have been harsh words from a liquor store owner next door and the owner of Objects of Pleasure, Fairfax's other paraphernalia shop, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in March.
Mayor Lew Tremaine has even written a letter to the building's landlord because of complaints regarding loitering kids and funky smells."I am very unhappy that this type of business has been allowed to move into such a visible location in my community," Tremaine wrote.Purple Haze owner John Dunsing of San Anselmo said he is operating in accordance with all laws, and said he provides a cheaper alternative to Objects of Pleasure for people who visit Marin Alliance, Marin County's only medical marijuana clinic just up the street. And, he added, the only thing people smell is incense."It's amazing people are complaining when there's a (medical marijuana) dispensary and another head shop," said Dunsing, using the term for stores that sell drug paraphernalia.Other stores in Marin County that sell pipes and drug paraphernalia include The Mighty Quinn, 1099 Fourth St. in San Rafael, and The Pleasure Principle, 74 Throckmorton Ave. in Mill Valley.Fairfax Town Attorney Joe Brecher said there are no town regulations about what can be sold at a smoke shop, which is a legally permitted use in the Fairfax town code.Dunsing said he signed a five-year lease Oct. 1 for part of the building at 1906 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., which also houses Fat Kat Surf Shop. He said he opened a few days before Halloween and sales have been strong."We've been in business three weeks and we're doing $350 a day," he said.Dunsing goes out of his way to tell people his wife is a CPA, and that they are proud parents of a 12-year-old daughter who attends White Hill Middle School. A photo of their daughter is even tacked up on the wall behind the cash register.Dunsing said he uses medical marijuana for a neck injury and for anger management. He said he has a record of running successful businesses such as Shaky Grounds coffee shop in San Rafael. He said he thought hard about what to do after recently selling a mini storage business in Hayward, and decided on a head shop because medical marijuana is such an important part of his life."This is about the passion and not about making money," he said.Dunsing said he approached Rick Lavine, owner of Objects of Pleasure, about buying the business but was told it wasn't for sale. Dunsing said Lavine even told him to start his own head shop if he was so interested in owning one."I don't remember that," Lavine said.Lavine said he vaguely remembers someone offering to buy his shop, but dismissed it out of hand because the shop is a big part of his identity.  He said sales don't appear to have slacked off in the past month, but a town with 7,000 people is unlikely to support two head shops."I've been eking out a living here," he said.The two shops are similar in that they both sell products that help people pass urine tests, and require buyers to be at least 18 years old. But their styles are different.Objects of Pleasure is decidedly old school with its earth-tone colors, a large selection of wooden pipes and music such as a bluegrass album that Lavine wrote and performed himself. It's housed in an old wooden building and tucked away so it doesn't draw attention.By contrast, Purple Haze looks like something straight off Haight Street with its bright colors, thumping reggae music and hand-blown glass pipes, bongs and other devices. It's right on the main drag, and Dunsing is planning an in-store demonstration in the coming weeks by a man who blows glass pipes."The storefront screams head shop," Tremaine said.Sal Damani, who recently bought the liquor store beside Purple Haze, said he immediately had a problem with Dunsing because a lot of teens gathered outside, ostensibly to find an adult who would go inside and buy things for them. Damani, who is opening a new restaurant on the other side of his liquor store, said the last thing he needs is to be associated with minors."I don't want any heat on me," said Damani, who keeps a two-inch-thick pile of confiscated ID's next to his cash register.Damani said another issue for him is tobacco sales, which account for up to 50 percent of his business. He said he met with Dunsing and, while supporting his right to make money, got a promise that Purple Haze won't sell tobacco products."It's a free enterprise, but I'm glad we agreed," he said. "It's a big part of my business."Dunsing said he asks for identification for anyone who looks under age 18, and only stocks three types of rolling papers that contain tobacco. He said he is targeting legitimate medical marijuana users, offers a 15 percent discount to anyone who provides a medical marijuana card and will never allow anyone to smoke tobacco or marijuana at the store."We don't want to sell tobacco, we hate tobacco," he said.Tremaine said he was shocked at how quickly a head shop could open on Fairfax's main street, and that it could be done without discussion or input by town leaders. He said a smoke shop is an accepted use in town code that doesn't require a use permit, but he plans to make sure tighter restrictions are passed in the near future."I wish we had had the opportunity to review this one," Tremaine said. Source: Marin Independent Journal (CA)Author: Tad Whitaker Published: Thursday, November 17, 2005Copyright: 2005 Marin Independent JournalContact: opinion marinij.comWebsite: Paraphernalia Archives
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Comment #2 posted by Dr Ganj on November 17, 2005 at 18:23:50 PT
Fairfax bud-club #2
Maybe someone should open a second cannabis club there, and see if that makes the Marin IJ.
Imagine Purple Haze on one side, and The Emerald Triangle Cannabis Center on the other!
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Comment #1 posted by Max Flowers on November 17, 2005 at 09:41:07 PT
If you guys only knew how funny this is... Fairfax is about the MOST liberal town in northern California outside of SF. I mean it's *completely* liberal and totally hippie (I love it). The fact that someone complained about a head shop and the fact that this is "news" is really funny! And the location they are talking about is just down the streeet from the Marin Alliance dispensary. I don't know who that mayor thinks he has living in his town and why he's saying what he is saying, if he opens his eyes and looks around he'll see that 90% of the people in his town are the kind that don't mind head shops. What a PC schmuck. I didn't know Fairfax had an anti-pot mayor. I'm going to look into that and see if the people know this about their mayor.Let me assure you all, those complaints will go nowhere, and they aren't even newsworthy. Must have been a real slow news day at the Marin IJ.I have a good friend who lives in Fairfax, and I'm actually visiting him tonight, but I'm sure this shop will be closing at 5:00 p.m., otherwise I would check it out. Sounds like a fun shop.
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