ST. PETERSBURG, Florida - A bill that bans the sale of bongs and pipes went into effect on Monday, July 1st.
The new law bans the sale of metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic smoking pipes, with or without screens, permanent screens, or punctured metal bowls. It also bans water pipes, carburetion tubes and devices, chamber pipes, carburetor pipes, electric pipes, air-driven pipes, chillums, bongs, and ice pipes or chillers.
On the surface, the bill could appear to have far reaching effects on head shops and convenience stores across the state, but the lawmaker who sponsored the bill is disappointed with the final product.
State Representative Darryl Rouson says the key portion of the bill he labored over for years was watered down and a key provision was taken out, which essentially removed its effectiveness.
In the current bill to become law, it only makes it illegal for head shops to sell the products for use with illicit drugs instead of tobacco use, with the latter already the current method used by businesses that sell such items.
Rouson blames the group "Florida Smoke Shops Association" for spending $100,000 to hire lobbyists and essentially eviscerating the key part of the bill.
Despite the loophole, addiction specialists see this as a victory in the effort to keep drugs out of the hands of children and young adults.
"Anything we can do that would be an obstacle to young people and children having access from beginning to understand and know about the drug culture is going to be beneficial," said Dan Cosby, a Florida certified addictions professional.
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