State legislatures, having largely lost the fight against medical marijuana, have switched tactics in their effort to restrict recreational drug use. One can argue that precious, taxpayer-supplied resources should be used in the most effective possible ways – for example, a supply-side approach. The same mindset, similarly, turns its back on the facts where drug treatment is concerned (as opposed to jail time). One cannot reasonably argue that limiting the sales of bongs and pipes will get the job done.
Tough On Business Not On Crime
Last year, in Florida, lawmakers passed a bill ( the “bong bill” ) that does two things. First, it requires a brand new permit for retailers who wish to sell water pipes and other smoking devices. And the permit will only be issued to those who derive fully 75 percent of their revenues from the sale of items other than paraphernalia. This would effectively put head shops out of business, since that’s pretty much all they sell, while a smoke shop (whose primary sales come from cigarettes) could still offer them if they had a permit to do so.
This is a curious move for a state legislature that is heavily weighted to the conservative side. It adds a new layer of government regulation on commerce that never existed before. In the midst of a deep and painful recession, this is a move that eliminates jobs, period. The impact the new law has on marijuana use in Florida is negligible… Must’ve been an election year.
In places where such decisions have been put to a vote, the instincts of the people run contrary to those of Florida’s state leglislators. In Breckenridge, Colorado, a ballot proposal legalizing the sale of bongs and pipes passed with a majority of 73 percent.