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‘It’ll kill us’: Ocean Blvd stores worry about Tuesday vote to ban tobacco, CBD sales

Zoning to create a more ‘family friendly’ Ocean Boulevard

Myrtle Beach city council plans to vote Tuesday on a new "entertainment overlay district" that would ban the sell of merchandise such as, CBD oil, smoke shop paraphernalia and sexually oriented clothing. Aug, 13 2018.
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Myrtle Beach city council plans to vote Tuesday on a new "entertainment overlay district" that would ban the sell of merchandise such as, CBD oil, smoke shop paraphernalia and sexually oriented clothing. Aug, 13 2018.

“CBD products sold here” is a common sign tourists see walking along Ocean Boulevard, and some business owners want to keep it that way.

The proposed Ocean Boulevard entertainment overlay district, which goes before city council on Tuesday for final reading, will ban cannabis products, alternative nicotine, vapor products, e-cigarettes and tobacco between 6th Avenue South to 16th Avenue North. Sexually explicit items and weapons also will be banned from the area.

Joe MacDonald, a part owner of the Grasshopper store, at 1103 N. Ocean Blvd., said prohibiting items such as cannabidiol oil will hurt his business.

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“It’ll kill us,” MacDonald said. “It’ll hurt. I’ve been here 31 years, and it’ll definitely hurt a lot of business, especially if they take out the CBD. It’s helping a lot of people. I have regular customers that use it for fibromyalgia, pain management, arthritis, panic attacks — and they won’t be able to get it here.”

As MacDonald spoke, a family with two small children browsed cases of CBD oil.

One of the goals of the overlay district, Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune said, is to create a family-friendly environment.

“Families are different,” MacDonald said. “Not every family is the same. I have people that come in and their kids get knives because their kids have collections. I have people that come here that say I buy these funny shirts every single year. Yeah, some of them are a little bit off the wall, but still, people like it.”

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A family shops for CBD oil edibles in the Grasshopper shop on Ocean Boulevard. Myrtle Beach city council plans to vote Tuesday on a new zoning district that would ban the sell of such products. “It’ll kill us. It’ll hurt. I’ve been here 31 years and it’ll definitely hurt a lot of business, especially if they take out the CBD,” said store owner Joe McDonald. Aug, 13 2018. Jason Lee jlee@thesunnews.com

The store also sells graphic T-shirts, clothes and bathing suits. MacDonald said he does not know what he’ll sell in the place of CBD oil if the ordinance passes.

Shay Danino, a manager at Lazy Parrot on the corner of Ocean Boulevard and Mr. Joe White Avenue, said he thinks it’s smart for the city to consider banning certain products, but there’s no reason to ban CBD oil, which is a small but profitable part of the store.

Hanging behind him were several shirts that would be banned under the new ordinance, but he said he wouldn’t mind taking them down.

Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune and city manager John Petersen explain the need for new zoning on Ocean Boulevard.

“I’ll feel nothing,” he said of taking down displays of shirts that displayed marijuana leaves or vulgar language. “I’ll actually like taking them down.”

Shannon Cain, who has worked at various shops along the boulevard for nine years, said she doesn’t believe the city will be able to enforce the ordinance because the shop owners will sue.

She said city leaders should be more worried about fixing the sidewalks and light posts.

“You can’t promote an ugly city,” she said.

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Water pipes shaped like guns, along with a display of swords are for sale at The Rasta Shop on Ocean Boulevard. The City of Myrtle Beach city council plans to vote Tuesday on a new “entertainment overlay district” that would ban the sell of merchandise such as, CBD oil, smoke shop paraphernalia and sexually oriented clothing. Aug, 13 2018. Jason Lee jlee@thesunnews.com

K.C. James, an employee at the Rasta Shop along the boulevard, did not initially know about the possible overlay district.

“It’s not right,” James said. “Nobody has any drugs, they’re not doing crack or heroin, they’re not running around here killing people from the stuff we sell. So I don’t see why it’s a problem. I think it’s real petty.”

City council will vote on the ordinance during Tuesday’s 2 p.m. meeting. If it passes, all banned items must be out of stores by Dec. 31.

What items are banned?

According to the ordinance, here’s the items that could be banned if the ordinance passes.

  • Smoke shops and tobacco stores
  • Alternative nicotine products and alternative nicotine delivery products
  • Barkers — people who stand outside of a business, calling out to possible customers
  • Cannabis products, including products with marijuana leaves pictured
  • CBD, also known as cannabidoil
  • E-cigarettes
  • Smoke or smoking
  • Tobacco and tobacco related products, tobacco paraphernalia
  • Vapor products
  • Sexually oriented merchandise
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