TALLAHASSEE, FL — Florida lawmakers took a step in the wrong direction Friday, passing legislation aimed at outlawing the sale of most pipes, water pipes and bongs, while continuing to ignore legislation to allow medical marijuana for the state’s sick and elderly.
The Florida Senate passed House Bill 49 by a 31-2 vote Friday, sending the bill to the Governor’s desk for approval. The bill passed in the House on Wednesday by a vote of 112-3.
Under the bill, which is a signature away from becoming law, any sale of virtually any type of smoking device will be outlawed, with criminal penalties imposed on offenders. The only pipes — tobacco or otherwise — that will be allowed for sale in Florida must be made of briar, meerschaum, clay or corn cob. Any type of water-pipe would be prohibited.
Any retailer caught selling pipes made of other materials, including glass, would be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. Second and subsequent violations would jump to a third-degree felony.
The vague law does not specify if the ban applies to internet or mail order sales.
Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, one of the two Senators who voted against the bill, argued that marijuana isn’t a dangerous drug and should be allowed under strict regulation.
If signed by Governor Rick Scott, as expected, the law would take effect on July 1, 2013.