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Pamela Davis to close counterculture store in Westminster this week


Scoffing at an agreement that would have allowed her Westminster counterculture store to remain in business through Labor Day, marijuana-rights activist Pamela Snowhite Davis yesterday said she is packing up and getting out.

According to people familiar with the case, the owners of the Westminster Shopping Center were prepared to allow Ms. Davis and her store, Liberation, to make weekly rent payments through Labor Day so that she could liquidate her stock.

But they wanted her to remove her "Going, going gone to pot liquidation and relocation sale" sign from the store front window.

Davis, 48, could not live with such a condition and told attorneys for the shopping center owner yesterday that she would be out of the store in three days.

"That was a nonnegotiable issue," Davis said yesterday. She said last night that she had no intention of removing the sign.

After about a year in business, Liberation will be closing before the beginning of next week, she said.

Davis and the Washington Real Estate Investment Trust were expected this week to sign an agreement that would prevent Liberation from being evicted.

Davis had never missed any of her $1,500 monthly rent payments until June, when she was in prison and her husband failed to pay, court documents said. She was released on bond June 24 pending the appeal of her March conviction on felony drug charges involving less than an ounce of marijuana.

Under the terms of the now apparently aborted agreement, Davis would have made weekly rent payments between Aug. 1 and Labor Day. Rent for June and July would have been reduced to a judgment against her.

At a meeting yesterday morning with her landlord's attorney and her attorneys, Davis was ready to sign the agreement until the landlord requested the removal of the window sign. At that point, people familiar with the meeting said, Davis walked out and declared that her freedom of speech was not for sale.

Absent the agreement, the shopping center intends to evict Davis if she doesn't leave within three days, said J. Barry Hughes, the Westminster attorney representing the shopping center's owners.

"We're waiting for some written assurance that says either she is willing to agree to our terms or that she will be gone when she says she will be," the attorney said yesterday.

On Friday, Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. signed an order allowing the shopping center to evict Davis and Liberation at any time beginning today.

When the Westminster Shopping Center began eviction proceedings in January, the owners sought to kick her out because she used Liberation as a forum for her pro-marijuana and anti-police views. Had she continued to pay rent, a Carroll jury would have decided Liberation's fate next month.

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