College Park's trusted source for daily news and updates since 2009

A new Tobacco and Smoking Accessory Shop Causes Controversy

9935 Rhode Island Ave
College Park, MD 20740

Bamboo Eater (

A few of my neighbors have brought this news article to my attention.  I first saw the article early this week but missed reading the location. A new tobacco and smoking accessory shop is opening in our neighborhood.

The name of the shop is “The Bamboo Eater”, and according to the Diamondback article, it will open in the Hollywood Square Shopping Center (near the four corners) on Rhode Island Avenue at the end of this month with a variety of products including the smok tfv12. Please see the map below.

Here is the website of the shop:

Our city needs new businesses to get more revenue, and also it’s welcome news that a UMD alumnus is opening a business in the city, but concerned residents want to examine the negative consequences a business may bring to the surrounding residential community.

The owner of the business insists that the shop is a tobacco store and will not just cater to smokers but instead will offer a range of products while also striving to establish itself within the community.

However, the neighbors who brought this to my attention are unimpressed. Here is what one of the residents wrote to me:

This type of business is for the most part is directed to those people who use illicit drugs ie hashish, cocaine, etc. We do not want anything like this across the street from the College Park Youth and Family Services, the soon-to-be Sunnyside Skate Board Park (for our youngsters, teenagers, and young adults), and the childcare facility on the corner of Rhode Island Avenue at Edgewood Road. This will attract the wrong people to our family orientated community,  jeopardize our efforts to revitalize that business district, potentially increase crime and be a nuisance to the neighborhood and to those local businesses that could and probably will lose business because most people DO NOT want to be around that kind of people. Also, we do not want our young people to be exposed to that type of thing or being curious as young people go there and possibly be exposed to a culture that is not in their best interests, family stability, or community safety.

Not everyone shares this neighbor’s concern though. My fellow NCP blogger Joe Smith disagrees with this postMy point: let’s not judge a store before it’s even open…  if the store is involved in illegal activity after it opens, then there are already mechanisms in place to deal with it.

District 1 Councilman Patrick Wojahn thinks the city cannot do anything from the shop is operational. “Although I believe we (council members) both share the concerns about illegal drug use in our community, there is little that the City could do to prevent this business from opening, as long as they are not doing anything illegal.”  Patrick wrote in a North College Park listserve.

Some residents think the city should have come to an agreement with the store owner even before the news of the store’s opening became public. “I fault the city for not having an understanding with the landlords.” – wrote one resident. “The city has once again dropped the ball.” – commented another.

The residents’ concerns seem to be based on the increasing opposition against selling paraphernalia in neighborhood stores across the nation. Though a coincidence, just two weeks ago the state of Florida banned selling pipes in most head shops. The so-called “Bong Bill” passed by the Senate and then overwhelmingly passed 115-0 in the House. Violators could face up to a year in jail. “I’ve been fighting the pipe industry for the longest because it is all a part of the drug trade and the criminal enterprise that we know exists and destroys neighborhoods, families, and order in our society,” said Bill’s sponsor Rep. Rouson. Here is more on NBC

Speaking of the MD state law, one resident pointed out that they were outlawed in this state some 25 years ago.  The drug paraphernalia laws are pretty effective here, which is why so many of the shops closed down (or became tattoo parlors) once those laws passed.  It’s an element of nostalgia that is better left in the past, I think most of us who remember would agree. – commented one long-time north College Park resident.

I second the concern about having this so close to a skate-park, as well.  With so many kids getting ready to enter their mid-to-late teens around here, organized children’s activities such as the Boys and Girls Club getting hammered by budget cuts, and the city hovering around a 20% poverty level, I see dark times ahead if this goes forward.  A store like this would likely only be throwing gasoline on a powder-keg, and selling the lighters. – the same resident commented further.


April 2010 Crime Map


MD’s Drug Paraphernalia Law

1 Comment

  1. Kennis Termini

    Florida “Bong Bill” Passes
    Selling paraphernalia will put retailers one toke over the line
    Updated 11:51 PM EDT, Wed, Apr 28, 2010

    Print Share Buzz up!

    Hey stoners, if you’re in need of a bong or pipe, you’d be wise to buy one while you can.

    A bill passed Wednesday will make it illegal in Florida to sell the drug paraphernalia in most head shops.

    The so-called “Bong Bill” passed by the Senate and then overwhelmingly passed 115-0 in the House now heads to Gov. Crist for final approval.

    The bill prohibits the sale of the items by businesses that don’t make at least 75 percent of their money from tobacco sales or make over 25 percent from sale of the prohibited items.

    Violators could face up to a year in jail.

    The bill, sponsored by Rep. Darryl Rouson, of St. Petersburg, would go into effect July 1.

    “I’ve been fighting the pipe industry for the longest, because it is all a part of the drug trade and the criminal enterprise that we know exists and destroys neighborhoods, families and order in our society,” Rouson said earlier this month.

    The head shops aren’t fooling Rouson when they say the pipes and bongs are used for legal tobacco.

    “When is the last time you stopped at a red light and saw someone smoking a hit of tobacco out of one of these one-shooters or water pipes?” said Rouson.

    Last year, Rouson also proposed HB 187, which calls for an extra sales tax on smoking paraphernalia, because he wanted to use the revenue for DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) programs, that were being cut.

    “Florida has a conscience and an awareness that marijuana and the smoking and ingesting of it is not healthy for an individual, nor is it healthy for public safety and the order in society,” Rouson said.

    Looks like we won’t be cracking this list anytime soon.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Miami
    First Published: Apr 28, 2010 12:40 PM EDT

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén