Parents of students in one Copperas Cove elementary school are fuming about what is being sold at a nearby convenience store and want sales halted.
Mighty Mart sells bongs, grinders and T-shirts promoting marijuana use. The store, at 1618 Veterans Ave., is located within less than a mile of Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary School at 1002 Veterans Ave.
Marilyn Jubilee has two children, ages 7 and 9, who attend the school.
“My concern is that the kids walk home every single day seeing the bongs and everything. I walked into the store and it was just like, ‘Wow.’ I couldn’t believe they were selling that,” Jubilee said. “With my daughter being in the fourth grade, she is curious and will ask me, ‘Mommy, what’s that?’ and then I have to try to explain it to her.”
Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana, which went into effective Jan. 1, has many people buzzing about the possibility of it becoming legal in Texas. Several people, however, have said the state is too conservative and legislation is not expected to change.
“There are clearly things in the store promoting marijuana use,” Jubilee said. “Some kids go straight there after school to get their candy or juice before they go home. Some are in the store without their parents.”
Brenda Reynolds is another mother who is taking a proactive stance against the sale of the items, rather than waiting to see what happens with legislation.
“We went to the police department and talked with an officer hoping he could keep the store from selling these items since it is so close to the school. But he told us that legally the items could be sold and said, ‘Don’t let your kids go in there,’” said Reynolds, who has a kindergartner and third-grader in the school. “I will definitely keep my kids out of the store. But, some are latch key kids and their parents are not with them on the way home from school.”
Reynolds said the police officer advised her to contact Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to lodge a complaint.
Mighty Mart store manager, Khan Sadqat, said he, too, is concerned about young children.
“I am not happy and can tell you that our high school kids are going bad and that gets down into the middle school, so its going bad,” said Sadqat, who has children ages 6 and 11. “But I would never sell these things to children and would never sell them cigarettes. But parents buy cigarettes for their kids and give them to them outside the store. I can’t help if they buy them these things and give them to them.”
Mighty Mart is not the only store in Cove that sells the items. Other convenience stores, including Cook’s Mini Mart on U.S. Highway 190, sells the same products.
Police Sgt. Julie Lehmann said the items are legal unless found in relation to illegal drugs.
“Each situation can be different based on what the officer locates. Even if marijuana is not found, but the item (pipe) has residue of marijuana or of any illegal substances, then it is probable cause to believe that the item was used to smoke the marijuana from,” Lehmann said. “Therefore, it would make it illegal in that aspect. What makes it is illegal to possess is when it is shown to have been used illegally.”