Florida Senate Bill Wants to Ban Bongs and Glass Pieces
Better be careful with those glass pieces, because if one state rep has his way, you won't be able to pick up a replacement anywhere in Florida. A new bill floating through the Legislature seeks to ban pipes and bongs from retail outlets.
The legislation was filed last December. Right now, it's floating through various subcommittees. But this isn't the first time the state has cracked down on smoking devices that may -- possibly, if someone really wants, in an autonomous personal action completely outside the manufacturer's intentions and legal culpabilities -- be used to smoke illegal drugs. In 2010, the state passed a bill that limited paraphernalia sales to stores that made 75 percent of their income from tobacco sales.
"The new bill builds on the old bill," says Darryl Rouson, the St. Petersburg representative sponsoring the House bill. "Rather than just regulating them, let's just ban them. If we can make people drive to Georgia and Alabama and South Carolina to get fireworks, they can drive to get these utensils of death."
If that phrasing didn't clue you in, Rouson is no friend of the paraphernalia trade. Admittedly, he's got a different perspective than most: Rouson was a crack addict before sobering up 15 years ago and today sees bongs and pipes not as good-time party favors but as implements of addiction. His campaign is all about ending the head-shop hypocrisy, as stores can sell the products with wink-wink, nudge-nudge approval as long as you just "use it for tobacco."
Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets
TicketsSun., Oct. 22, 1:00pm
Florida Panthers vs Anaheim Ducks
TicketsThu., Oct. 26, 7:30pm
Florida Panthers vs Detroit Red Wings
TicketsSat., Oct. 28, 7:00pm
Florida Panthers vs Tampa Bay Lightning
TicketsMon., Oct. 30, 7:30pm
Florida Panthers vs Columbus Blue Jackets
TicketsThu., Nov. 2, 7:30pm
"When was the last time you pulled up to a red light and someone was smoking a wad of tobacco out of a colored glass one-shooter?" he asks New Times. "When was the last time you walked into someone's house and on the table was a water pipe they were smoking tobacco out of?"
(Answer: not yesterday.)
Rouson spearheaded the 2010 campaign. After that legislation was passed, a group of head-shop owners got together a legal challenge, hoping to sink the law by questioning its constitutionality.
After a two-year back-and-forth, a judge in Tallahassee recently ruled on the state's behalf. Rouson took that as a green light to go forward with a proposed all-out ban. Incidentally, Rouson isn't an outsider in the Legislature -- in February, he was elected leader of the House Democrats.
"I believe there is support for it," Rouson says.
Get the Things to Do Newsletter
Find out about upcoming events and special offers happening in South Florida.