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Venice Vendors Gotta Believe

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Sorry Venice boardwalk vendors, you can't sell tourists your shea butter, even if you say it has healing properties, according to a ruling made yesterday by the Ninth Circuit. The decision found that a 2006 city ordinance that requires vendors have a permit and sell only "merchandise constituting, carrying or making a religious, political, philosophical or ideological message or statement which is inextricably intertwined with the merchandise" does not violate the First Amendment. The challengers, two men who had been arrested for illegal vending, one for selling the shea butter, the other for symbol-covered incense holders, "failed to show that they were engaged in the kind of speech that it protected." [Courthouse News Service, via Yo! Venice]