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City Alters Rules On Selling Tobacco Paraphernalia


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State and federal law already criminalize the sale of drug paraphernalia, but city officials and anti-drug advocates say merchants try to circumvent the law by marketing certain kinds of pipes and other devices as tobacco paraphernalia.
"The intent is to discourage the sale of drug paraphernalia, no matter what they call it," said El Cajon Councilman Gary Kendrick.

The City Council unanimously approved an ordinance this week that regulates such items. Final approval is expected at the Feb. 26 council meeting, and the law would take effect 30 days later.

The ordinance does not ban the general sale of tobacco paraphernalia, which can include pipes and water pipes made of metal or glass. However, it limits how such items are displayed.

For example, the law bans the sale of tobacco paraphernalia at outdoor markets or festivals. It also requires that store displays not be visible to passers-by. Also, paraphernalia cannot be displayed within 20 feet of other merchandise linked to illicit drug use, such as clothing or magazines that bear pictures or messages associated with marijuana or other controlled substances.

The law does not apply to tobacco pipes made of materials "commonly used in the manufacture of tobacco pipes," such as briarwood or corncob, or "cigarette holders manufactured to hold a single, commercially created and machine rolled, cigarette."

Communities Against Substance Abuse, an El Cajon-based advocacy group, worked closely with the city to craft the law and is working to toughen the state law.

Evelyn Hogan, a public-policy advocate for the organization, said the ordinance is a good first step, but it "is not necessarily going to solve the drug-paraphernalia problem." She said her group appreciates that the ordinance will limit the way the items are displayed and sold.

The group has worked closely with city officials to enforce other tobacco laws enacted in recent years. The organization monitors merchants' compliance with the city's tobacco-retailer-licensing law, and Hogan said it will check to see that retailers follow the new rules.

El Cajon has about 120 licensed tobacco retailers, including smoke shops, but not all of those stores sell tobacco paraphernalia that can also be used for drugs. Hogan estimates that there are seven stores that specialize in what many advocates consider to be drug paraphernalia.

El Cajon police inspect smoke shops through the department's special operations division, but "a lot of enforcement on tobacco shops and smoke shops is complaint-driven," said police Capt. Pat Sprecco.

The new ordinance lets retailers know the city is watching, Sprecco said. Merchants cited for repeated violations could also find it harder to renew their business licenses, he said.

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
Copyright: 2008 San Diego Union-Tribune
Contact: letters@uniontrib.com
Website: liz.neely@uniontrib.com

Herb Fellow

New Member
That ordinance could be very subjective. You could smoke cannabis out of everything that you can smoke tobacco in. However, I don't think I would like to try tobacco in a bong. Who will make the judgment call?


Well-Known Member
Sounds like it needs to be a "who the fuck are you to tell me what is for tobacco and what is for anthing else?" So can I sell a vibrator massage tool in the window, even though you can put it places that are illegal still in many states?
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