Four Abilene head shops found without certificates of occupancy, forced to close

ABILENE, Texas - Four local head shops were forced to shut down after Abilene city officials discovered the owners never obtained certificates of occupancy.

The city's Planning and Development Director Jon James said Friday the Hippy Express on South 14th Street, Cottonmouths on Mockingbird Lane, Puff Puff Pass on Grape Street and Up in Smoke on South 1st Street were recently issued cease and desist notification. According to police, these head shops and other sell synthetic drugs also known as "fake marijuana."

On June 14, city council unanimously passed a zoning ordinance to force the shops to relocate to commercial or industrial areas within four months. The ordinance was passed in order to prevent the shops from doing business near schools, churches and homes.

James said the passage of the ordinance brought to light the fact that four of the head shops did not obtain certificates of occupancy prior to doing business. He said three owners were issued citations for operating without the certificates because they did not close their doors immediately after they were notified to do so.

Because of the recent passage of the head shop zoning ordinance, the owners cannot apply for occupancy certificates until they relocate to approved areas. As of Friday, none of the four owners have applied for certificates at new locations; however, James said some have inquired about the ordinance. 

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