Drug paraphernalia OR store merchandise?

Ella Fowler and Ella Fowler

A local business re-opened Friday following the Bowling Green Police Division’s execution of a search warrant, apprehending merchandise the BGPD classifies as drug paraphernalia.

Lt. Tony Hetrick of the BGPD said the investigation against Mezmorize, located at 181 S. Main St., was conducted over a period of time and the police found the business was selling drug paraphernalia. These items included tobacco pipes, grinders, scales and other merchandise.

The city is still in the process of charging the venue, City Prosecutor Matt Reger said. Charges include the possession and sale of drug paraphernalia, which is a misdemeanor.

Drug paraphernalia, Reger said, includes equipment, products or material used with the intent to be used or designed to be used in ingesting a controlled substance.

A letter was sent to the business March 10 asking Mezmorize to stop selling drug paraphernalia merchandise, Reger said.

Manager Mike Husain said the letter asked the business to stop selling products like tobacco pipes, grinders, scales and other merchandise.

“We did not stop selling those items because those items are totally legal to sell,” Husain said. “There is no law against that.”

Husain has never had any problems with the city since Mezmorize opened in the fall of 2009.

“This was all a shock to us,” Husain said. “We have done nothing wrong. We welcome the police to come and sit here all day long. We do not do anything illegal.”

The issue is in the sale of the merchandise in question. The police believe the products classify as drug paraphernalia because it is being sold under the pretense of investing illegal substances.

“There are items being sold, and the context [in which] those items were being sold indicate that it was illegal drug paraphernalia,” Reger said.

Reger said that he nor the police have seen these items used for anything else, but the ingestion of illegal substances.

Husain said other shops in the area have also sold or are selling the same merchandise Mezmorize is selling.

“We have not gotten any information on those [businesses],” Hetrick said. “If they are selling that stuff in the same manner as Mezmorize, then they are susceptible to charges as well.”

Husain said he feels both the city prosecutor and the BGPD are harassing the business.

“We are not going to tolerate it,” he said. “We aren’t going to let them run all over us. We are going to fight this. If we were doing something wrong, I wouldn’t have opened the business.”

Husain could not elaborate, but did say he is in the process of pursuing charges against the city.

“We would like to remain in the city of Bowling Green,” Husain said. “We have a long-term lease there. We would like to continue to operate … if they are going to keep on harassing us, we would have to think of other things to do.”

Hetrick couldn’t comment on whether there were complaints filed against Mezmorize.