Shelby TownshipJune 11, 2012
County, local authorities descend on Shelby Township smoke shop
By Brad D. Bates
C & G Staff Writer
An anonymous tip from residents led local and county authorities to converge on Woodstock Tobacco and More on Van Dyke Avenue June 11.
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Macomb County Sherriff Anthony Wickersham, Township Supervisor Richard Stathakis and several Shelby Township police officers stormed into the smoke shop shortly before 6 p.m. after receiving a tip that the store was selling synthetic marijuana, also known by its brand names Spice and K2.
“We are going to make sure there are no facilities selling this in Macomb County,” Hackel said of synthetic marijuana, which was banned from being sold in the county June 4 by an executive order that made the substance’s sale a health code violation.
No such substances were found at the store despite multiple reports that they were available for purchase as recently as the previous night.
“At 8:45 p.m. last night, they had (synthetic marijuana),” said Chelsea Nowak, 18, of Alma, who was helping law enforcement by posing as someone who wanted to buy synthetic marijuana. “They had about 10 packs left.”
Employees at Woodstock Tobacco, which is located at 46699 Van Dyke Ave. and was the scene of an anti-synthetic drug protest June 2, declined to comment.
“You think they would be more compliant,” Hackel said of the search procedure that featured the employees forcing everyone but law enforcement from the building.
“We could not find it behind the counter. We didn’t see it, but if people still want to complain we’ll come back and check.”
During the search, a young man came up to the store and told members of the media and Stathakis that he was there to buy Spice. He went into the store while law enforcement was present and was turned away.
Two employees became angry and confrontational with Hackel, Wickersham and television camera operators when they entered the store, and they demanded to see health department badges from Hackel and Wickersham.
“Most retailers are good,” Wickersham said of shops that he has previously visited after being reported to the county.
“And then you have retailers that are not compliant. This is one of those times. If I owned a business in the community, I would want (authorities) in here so they know that there isn’t anything illicit in the store.”
Wickersham and Hackel said there is no limit to the number of times the county can investigate a store and urged the public to continue to report any shops that are selling the substances.
“We encourage people to tell us,” Wickersham said. “At least we’re keeping people honest.”
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