City considers pulling business license after APD search at Mellow Haze yields suspected marijuana, other drugs

Published 9:15 am Sunday, October 22, 2023

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An Andalusia business could be losing its business license after law enforcement seized suspected illegal drugs after executing a search warrant last week.

The Andalusia City Council set in motion the process to possibly revoke the business license of Mellow Haze, a retail store located at 1102 Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway licensed by the state to sell tobacco and vaping products. In accordance with city rules regarding revoking business licenses, the council set a public hearing to be held during its next meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 6 p.m. At that time, representatives of the business are allowed to address the council if they wish. Following the hearing, the council could then vote to revoke the license.

“The evidence we have before us is that they were conducting business there that is illegal,” Mayor Earl Johnson said. “Reports are showing that substances in the shop included marijuana. There were findings of other illegal drugs and activities transpiring there that are inconsistent with the business license issued. Under state law we have the right to suspend or cancel a business license upon a hearing.”

Officials also stated the business operated as a limited liability corporation, but that there are no records of the LLC in the State of Alabama.

The Andalusia Police Department executed the search warrant at Mellow Haze on Friday, Oct. 13, resulting in the seizure of numerous items. APD Chief Paul Hudson said the search warrant was obtained after receiving numerous reports of illegal activity. According to officials, many of the items seized were sent to the Alabama Department of Forensics for analysis, including a substance suspected to be marijuana. The business was also ordered closed.

The investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made at this time.

Other items discussed by the council included:

  • approving the FY22 financial audit performed by the accounting firm of Rabren, Odom, Pierce and Hayes with representative Gail Hayes presenting the firm’s report during the council’s previous October meeting. Hayes said there were no negative findings and that the city’s financial standing is strong.
  • “The audit showed that the city improved its financial position for the eighth consecutive year and that the city has increased its net position by $3.5 million in FY22, partially due to a strong economy resulting in a 7 percent increase in overall sales across the city. The city has experienced a positive net change every year since 2013. Overall, this is an excellent report thanks to the work of our city council, department heads and employees,” Johnson said.
  • re-appointing Steve Posey to the Public Education Building Authority Board.
  • approving a retail liquor license application for Off the Traxs, a new business to be located at 234 S. Cotton St, near the old train depot. The measure was approved by a 3-1-1 vote with Councilmember Hazel Griffin voting “no” and Terry Powell abstaining.

The next meeting of the city council will be held Tuesday, Nov. 7, 6 p.m., at city hall. A work session precedes the meeting at 5:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.