While other states are legalizing medicinal marijuana and decriminalizing possession of small amounts of pot, Florida is going in the exact opposite direction. A bill that would ban the sale of pipes and bongs that could be used to smoke marijuana passed the state House yesterday with a lopsided 112-3 vote.
The law would make it a misdemeanor to sell any pipes or bongs made of glass, metal, acrylic or, stone. A second offense would warrant a third-degree felony. Pipes made of briar, meerschaum, clay, or corn cob would still be legal.
The bill was sponsored by Darryl Rouson, a Democrat from St. Petersburg who overcame a cocaine addiction. He believes the bill would make it harder for drug addicts to get pipes and would send a strong message that drug use is bad. Apparently he's unaware that with a little ingenuity, people can make a bong out of just about anything.
Opponents, however, point out the bill could spell disaster for some small businesses in an already economically fraught time. One head shop owner tells WESH that she believes up to 300 businesses could go under because of the law.
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Bong and pipe sales are already highly regulated in Florida. Only stores that make 75 percent of their income from sales related to tobacco are allowed to sell pipes.
Of the three members who voted against the bill, two were Republicans and one was a Democrat.