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Bong Ban Passes Through House Subcommittee, Moves Through Legislature

Over in Tallahassee, your state legislators are hard at work deciding whether your bongs and glass pieces should be deemed illegal.

As we told you earlier this year, House Bill 49 would basically ban the sale of bongs in the state. Much like fireworks, you'd have to cross state lines to get your hands on the items -- a pretty controversial stance, at least if the outrage in our comment section was a good barometer of how people feel on the issue.

Well, the legislation just took an important step on the walk from bill to law.

On Wednesday, the legislation was discussed in the House' Business and Professional Regulation subcommittee. With little interference, the bill sailed on to the next step in the process. A few weeks earlier, the bill also cleared the Criminal Justice subcommittee.

The state has already put serious restrictions on head shops selling bongs. According to a 2010 piece of legislation, only stores pulling 75 percent of their sales from tobacco can hawk the items. The new bill takes the pressure one step further.

The sponsor of both bills, Rep. Darryl Rouson, told New Times in March that he's interested in cutting the hypocrisy out of whole head shop experience. Everyone knows what people are smoking out of those glass pieces.

"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 said at the time. "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?"

And where exactly is the counter-force here? Well, when the 2010 bong restrictions ground through the Legislature, head shop owners stepped up, wagging a protest that eventually turned into a costly legal fight. In the end, they lost. The toll of those past battles may be what's keeping head shop proponents on the sidelines for the current legislation.

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Kyle Swenson
Contact: Kyle Swenson

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