Hookah owner gets dispensary approval

Published 7:48 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Mohammed Abdullah, owner of Como 51 Express, a 24-hour convenience store located north of Como town limits and south of the Tate County line, this month received unanimous approval from the county’s Land Development Commission to open a medical marijuana dispensary in the storefront adjacent to the convenience store.

It was Abdullah’s second presentation to the board, which last year denied him a special exception to open a hookah lounge on the opposite side of the store. He was allowed to open the hookah business after a month’s delay when the Board of Supervisors, in a 5-0 vote, overturned the Land Development Board’s decision.

Abdullah had stressed to the land board that hookah pipes use mild tobacco and are accented with fruit flavors and sometimes garnished with pieces of fresh fruit. People frequent hookah lounges for the ambience and often gather with friends to share pipes with multiple hoses allowing for shared smoking while maintaining safety standards, he said.

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Part of the Land Board’s concerns were for parking and occupancy of the hookah lounge, and their concerns were realized this month when Abdullah opened the business. County officials took calls from several citizens complaining about the traffic and Sheriff’s Office deputies went to the store several times in the past month, but no major incidents have been reported.

The owner said he built the store with two extra spaces for the hookah and dispensary businesses. It is the first dispensary approved by the Land Board.

The approval of the dispensary location was just the first step in selling cannabis for Abdullah, who will also have to meet a long list of regulations from the State of Mississippi before opening to the public.