Florida: Bill Outlawing Marijuana Pipes Heads To Governor's Desk
By Steve Elliott
Florida lawmakers have passed a bill outlawing the sale of marijuana pipes.
The bong ban, HB 49, on Friday passed the Florida Senate on a 31-2, reports The Associated Press. The measure, which had already passed the House on a 112-3 vote, now heads for the desk of Governor Rick Scott for his signature.
Florida law currently allows stores to sell the pipes. Any sale of marijuana pipes would be a first-degree misdemeanor if Gov. Scott signs the bill into law. Second and subsequent violations would be a third-degree felony.
Recovering crack addict Rep. Darryl Rouson believes marijuana is a gateway drug to things like, well, crack cocaine (despite all the evidence to the contrary). He sponsored the bill to ban all bongs, glass bowls, roach clips, and other things that can used as devices with which to smoke pot, reports Chris Joseph at Broward Palm Beach New Times.
"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," the overly dramatic Rep. Rouson said.
"It's going to destroy my home and career and family," said Molly Davis, who owns a shop that sells bongs. "Both me and my husband will have to find new jobs, and we have two babies," she said, reports WESH.com.
"So while the majority of America is passing bills legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, Florida is going out of its way to ban weed on all levels while destroying family-owned businesses in its wake," wrote Chris Joseph.
Supporters claim the bill sends a message against illegal drug use by making the pipes unavailable at stores. Opponents say it's dumb to expect a bong ban to make any difference, since marijuana pipes are easily constructed from household objects, and can even be made from things as common as apples.
"I happened to be in Tallahassee when the bong bill was being heard in the House Judiciary Committee," cannabis activist Robert Platshorn of The Silver Tour told Hemp News on Friday. "I was the only person to address the committee speaking against the bill.
"I spoke on behalf of The Silver Tour and seniors who need a way to medicate," Platshorn told us. "Many need vaporizers and many need pipes, because it's tough rolling a joint when you have ALS or MS.
"They did not appreciate what I had to say," Platshorn said. "In fact, some were downright nasty."
Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth), who voted against the pipe ban, said marijuana isn't a dangerous drug and should be legalized and regulated.