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Fears about suspected marijuana plant in Boardman go up in smoke

Published: Sat, June 29, 2013 @ 12:07 a.m.

By Josh Stipanovich



Was the plastic plant in the plastic pot actually, um, plastic pot?

When Richard Poptelariter of Howland stopped at the Shell gas station on the corner of Western Reserve Road and South Avenue, he observed what he believed was a plastic marijuana plant next to the pump.

“I have a 4-year-old daughter,” the outraged Poptelariter said. “I don’t want my daughters growing up to see marijuana.”

Enter Ellen Speicher, assistant horticulture director at Fellows Riverside Gardens. She took a look at one of the plastic leaves and said it’s highly unlikely the leaf is marijuana.

The jagged leaves of five and six and seven on the plastic plants actually resembled leaves from a coral bark Japanese maple leaf.

“Often, when you see these at a gas station, they’re trying to make it look like an ivy,” Speicher said. “It doesn’t really look that much like marijuana. Marijuana actually is larger, and it has more dissection on the edges of the leaf.”

“I think they’re trying to mimic a Japanese maple,” she added.

She’s right.

A spokesperson for Truck World Inc., one of several companies that own Shell gas stations throughout the nation, said these fire-retardant Japanese maple trees were installed there several years ago to prevent customers from backing into the gas pumps. “They act as a bumper guard.”

Speicher said, however, that this isn’t the first time she’s dealt with this situation because some Japanese maple leaves tend to closely resemble marijuana.

She said the janitor at a previous job she worked came across a leaf on the break-room floor that he also believed was marijuana.

“It was a Japanese maple leaf,” she said.

Boardman police Sgt. Michael Hughes took a ride to examine the fire-friendly plants Friday morning to see for himself and determined it was not marijuana. But he can see why it could be mistaken for marijuana.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time, [marijuana] is a seven-leaf plant,” Hughes said. “Believe me, [the fake plants] look just like marijuana plants, but there has to be seven [stems],” Hughes said.

He said even if the plants were fake marijuana, police couldn’t take any action because there’s no law against such fake greenery.

“But they did look like marijuana plants,” Poptelariter said after he was informed of the actual nature of the plastic plants.


1yashure(18 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

Really!!!! Some people need to get a life,,,,,,

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2JorgeeBoi(6 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

The photo in the Vindicator looks nothing like a marijuana plant.It definetly looks like a type of maple.Richard needs to better educate himself or he'll be blindfolding his daughters eyes when they're driving down the streets because he doesn't want her to see the 40 foot tall pot trees all around them.

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3Constructor(105 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

Sounds like some momma's boy just wanted to get his name in the paper. How can you get upset over a plastic plant??

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4gdog4766(1489 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

I have been going to that station for years and know exactly the PLASTIC plant he's talking about. How stupid do you have to be to think that first! And second, yeah get a life. Your daughter seeing a fake pot leaf is the least of your worries. And any way how could she possibly know at that age what the heck it's supposed to look like.

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5redvert(2064 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

He was "outraged," fortunately the service station does have restrooms.

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6polhack(129 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

If the Roseanne Rosanadana character was still on Saturday Night Live, this guy could take the place of irate listener Richard Fader, from Fort Lee, NJ. Maybe he should call Mr. Obvious on the Bob & Tom show to share his comedic ignorance with a wider audience!

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7steelwagon(284 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

I have a 4-year-old daughter,” the outraged Poptelariter said. “I don’t want my daughters growing up to see marijuana

Go change your panties jackass.
If a little pot is the worst thing your kid ever sees you'll be very fortunate

This guy sounds like a trouble making creep.
You can bet he's the neighborhood freak!

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8bunkpatrol(87 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

^^^^Couldn't have said it any better^^^^^.

Amen !

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9lookingglass(7 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

Hey HellaBB, this has nothing to do with political parties. I read the same article and thought WOW and I am republican. There is nothing wrong with clinging to our bibles and guns. Imagine if no one had faith. And as far as our guns...it is our constitutional right. This is a country created by geniuses and ran by idiots.

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10brntbarbour(18 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

The comments on here are a lot funnier than the article! LMBO!

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11JMcBride(1 comment)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

What a jackass. This is the kind of person who needs to be ignored by intelligent members of society... I hope his daughter grows up to be smarter than him. She's got one hell of a genetic hurdle to overcome, but I think she can do it.

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12Knightcap(697 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

For a minute I thought this was a Hagan initiative. Making the oil companies greener and promoting his weed.

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13JoeFromHubbard(1036 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

I saw the article in the Vindy and thought it was a joke to fill in for an otherwise slow news day.

People can't really be that excited about a plant that resembles maryjane, can they?

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14ztom(7 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

Yeah, he overreacted, but give the guy a break. I totally understand getting upset by the extreme tolerance and subtle promotion of marijuana in today’s culture. I wish more people did.

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15cheybaby2(102 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

ZTOM, POT/Marijuana is used for many thing, Aids patience, cancer patience, not for Pain But so they will eat, All Pot Does is Makes you Relax, and Makes you want to eat. That is all it does nothing more, Its used for glacoma , Back Pain although i dont see it helping with Pain.. I see no Problem Legilizing it at All. And No I dont Smoke Pot or Take Drugs, My Brother Died Of Brain Cancer, It Helped Him To Eat & Sleep., If i had My Chose Id Rather see People Smoke Pot Then Drink And Go out and Kill someone. Ive Been Hit By 2 Drunk Drivers In Warren., The 2nd Hit was a Bad One, but at least im alive to talk about it. But the Guy at the Gas Station is a ignorant Fool.

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16Yompton(3 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

How annoying of a person can you be? Even if they were fake pot plants, what of it. Did this guy want them to be arrested for possession of plastic?

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17zz3(931 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

You can't fix stupid thats for sure. Maybe this jerk should take a walk down Hillman street or Avondale and observe some real crime he can report. As stated above "Get a Life"

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18yng00128(67 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

This guy sounds like he is a revenue officer for the IRS.....in other words he needs to get a life!!!!!!
Probably works downtown with the other IRS losers.

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19auntiem4cabs(113 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

Big man with nothing to do...

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20timn(10 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

I usually only encounter people like this in works of fiction.

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21james1(1 comment)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

Ah...I love stupidity. All he had to do was drive away and his daughter would have no idea what it was. Now because he made such an issue about it, she now knows about Marijuana. Idiot.

I'm sure he was just as outraged about the numerous, Beer and Alcohol banners too....

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22jungljim69(16 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

Richard Poptelariter has a plastic brain. What an idiot! I pity his daughter.

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23NUNABIZ(2 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

Maybe he was "high" and couldn't tell the difference between plastic and real? LOL!

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