Puffster petitions for marijuana retail in downtown Dover

By Benjamin Rothstein
Posted 7/10/24

DOVER—Puffster, a boutique-styled smoke shop on Loockerman street in Downtown Dover, has received over 250 signatures across four petitions to allow the store to begin Marijuana retail, …

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Puffster petitions for marijuana retail in downtown Dover


DOVER — Puffster, a boutique-styled smoke shop on Loockerman Street in downtown Dover, has received over 250 signatures across four petitions to allow the store to begin selling recreational marijuana, something that Dover City Council’s plans would prevent.

For store owner Nicole Chick, once sales legally begin in Delaware in the spring of 2025, offering marijuana products is less a business opportunity and more about securing the store’s future,

“My worry is that a lot of the customers that currently buy our hemp products buy them because they don’t have access to marijuana,” Ms. Chick told the Daily State News.

“And once it becomes legal, those customers would go to other retail marijuana dispensaries instead of my smoke shop, which could lead to my store closing entirely and we’ve been in business for seven years.”

Ms. Chick spoke at Tuesday’s Dover City Council Committee of the Whole meeting against a moratorium that prevents applications for marijuana businesses through the rest of the year. After public comments both for and against, the moratorium was approved.

There were four petitions put together by Ms. Chick. The first asked for signatures from residents within 250 feet of the store; another asked for signatures from downtown Dover business owners and employees; the next for residents within five miles; and the last from customers of the store.

All received a significant number of signatures, with the five-mile petition specifically accounting for over 200 signatures. Ms. Chick says the only businesses that did not sign the petition were ones that have a policy of not taking political stances but were not against legal marijuana sales in Dover.

“The community loves us and wants us here and has always known that we wanted to transition to being a retail marijuana store,” she said.

Ms. Chick argued that City Council has not come up with valid reasons to prevent the transition. Arguments typically involve safety and odor concerns, both remedied by what she says are stricter regulations than that of a comparable industry — alcohol.

She said marijuana businesses are not allowed to display marijuana-related products in the store window to protect youths from coming inside, and marijuana flower packaging is tightly sealed to prevent odor leakage. She also noted the store’s strict respect policies, sometimes voluntarily losing out on customers because they made staff feel unsafe.

She said she was also concerned for the customers who do not have the means to purchase marijuana outside of downtown Dover and therefore must resort to a ‘black market.’

She said the store’s longevity in the area is important, citing several empty storefronts along Loockerman Street, where establishments have operated only to quickly close.

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