TALLAHASSEE, FL — In just two weeks, the sale of most pipes, water pipes and bongs will be outlawed in Florida as a bill passed by lawmakers in April and signed by the Governor earlier this month takes effect.
Florida lawmakers took the step in the wrong direction in April, with the Florida Senate passing House Bill 49 by a 31-2 vote just two days after the bill was passed in the House by a vote of 112-3, while continuing to ignore legislation to allow medical marijuana for the state’s sick and elderly.
Under the bill, which takes effect on July 1, 2013, the 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.
“Rather than just regulating them, let’s just ban them,” Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg), who sponsored the bill. “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 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.
The bill was signed by Governor Rick Scott on June 5.