Rick Scott Signs Pipe Ban That Doesn't Really Ban Pipes

Bro!!!!!! Did you hear bro?!?!? Gov. Rick Scott is such a buzz kill bro!!! He just signed a law that makes it illegal for smoke shops to sell just about every pipe bro!!! Glass, wooden, acrylic, stone, metal, with or without screens, with carubretion!!! We're gonna have to stock up on apples and empty Coca-Cola cans bro!!!

Umm, actually no. Seriously, Florida stoners can chill. Take a hit. Unwind. The pipe ban bill Scott signed has no teeth. So don't expect to see a blow out sale on all smoking devices at your local smoke shops so that they can get rid of all their inventory by July 1, when the law goes into effect. Thanks to the Florida Smoke Shop Association, it's business as usual.

See also: Anti-Bong Bill Passes Florida House 112-3

"It doesn't change a thing in the way we do business," says Jay Work, owner of Grateful J's, with four smoke shop locations in Broward and Palm Beach County. Work along with the owners of 75 stores around the state joined forces to effectively neuter the pipe ban bill -- championed by state Rep. Darryl Rouson from St. Petersburg, who believes getting rid of pipes is going to stop pot heads from smoking their cheeba.

Work says the Florida Smoke Shop Association raised more than $100,000 and hired a lobbyist to make sure their livelihood wasn't destroyed. "If you don't like the way the people who get elected are governing then you have to get involved," Work says. "We beat them at their own game. Unfortunately to play their game, you need to raise money."

The law says that a person has to "knowingly and intentionally" sell a pipe for illegal drug use to get arrested for a criminal misdemeanor. A second offense will lead to a third degree felony. That means a smoke shop owner or employee has to know without a doubt that you intend to buy a pipe for drug use. They can still sell pipes for tobacco purposes only.

"If you come in referencing illegal substances, then we wouldn't sell it to you," says John, an employee of Headquarters Tobacco & Gift Shop in Hialeah. "But that's how we have always operated."

Indeed, the shop has a sign warning customers that any reference to illegal substances will get them kicked out. The same goes for Midtown Smokeshop at 3503 NE Second Ave. "As a smoke shop, I only sell products for tobacco purposes," says owner Victor. "I'm going to kick you out if you reference drugs."

Follow Francisco Alvarado on Twitter: @thefrankness.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.

Latest Stories