Florida “Bong Bill” Passes

Selling paraphernalia will put retailers one toke over the line

Hey stoners, if you're in need of a bong or pipe, you'd be wise to buy one while you can.

A bill passed Wednesday will make it illegal in Florida to sell the drug paraphernalia in most head shops.

The so-called "Bong Bill" passed by the Senate and then overwhelmingly passed 115-0 in the House now heads to Gov. Crist for final approval.

The bill prohibits the sale of the items by businesses that don't make at least 75 percent of their money from tobacco sales or make over 25 percent from sale of the prohibited items.

Violators could face up to a year in jail.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Darryl Rouson, of St. Petersburg, would go into effect July 1.

“I’ve been fighting the pipe industry for the longest, because it is all a part of the drug trade and the criminal enterprise that we know exists and destroys neighborhoods, families and order in our society,” Rouson said earlier this month.

The head shops aren't fooling Rouson when they say the pipes and bongs are used for legal tobacco.

“When is the last time you stopped at a red light and saw someone smoking a hit of tobacco out of one of these one-shooters or water pipes?” said Rouson.

Last year, Rouson also proposed HB 187, which calls for an extra sales tax on smoking paraphernalia, because he wanted to use the revenue for DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) programs, that were being cut.

“Florida has a conscience and an awareness that marijuana and the smoking and ingesting of it is not healthy for an individual, nor is it healthy for public safety and the order in society,” Rouson said.

Looks like we won't be cracking this list anytime soon.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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