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Legal Pipe Sales Draw Scrutiny

Rocky Balboa

New Member
The Paraphernalia Sold At The Flea Market Is For Tobacco Use Only. Being legal and being moral are not always one and the same.

That's the distinction Peggy Bowerman has drawn in her dispute over the sale of bongs, pipes and discreet smoking paraphernalia sold at a shop in the Sun Flea Market at 18505 Paulson Drive in Murdock.

Bowerman owns a shop in the flea market within proximity of Adorable Balloons & More, a shop that sells balloons, incense and oils in addition to the smoking equipment -- clearly labeled as for tobacco use only.

"They're selling balloons for children and drug paraphernalia, and I have a problem with that," Bowerman said.

But Mark Dennis, owner of Adorable Balloons & More, has been found in compliance with the law after complaints were recently filed with the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco.

As the products are locked in a display case, are clearly marked for tobacco use and are not sold to minors, Dennis said he has no concerns -- morally or legally -- with selling the products.

"My signs clearly say you have to be 18 or older to buy them," he said. "I don't care if you look 90, you get your ID checked."

In addition to hookahs and glass pipes shaped like a frog or an elephant, Dennis' shop also sells products obviously intended for more discreet uses. One pipe is designed to look like a plastic bottle, while another could easily be mistaken for a car cigarette lighter.

"The police have actually come in here and looked at them," Dennis said of such products. "One said, 'Oh, that's neat, I'm going to have to start looking for that.'"

Marge Farris, office manager at the Sun Flea Market, said she's heard complaints from shop owners such as Bowerman, but has no problem with Dennis' sale of tobacco paraphernalia as long as it's within the confines of the law and clearly labeled.

"We actually had the state come in and check ... because they had a complaint," Farris said, "and there's nothing wrong."

Sam Farkas, spokesman for the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, said the department has no jurisdiction over the shop because it does not sell any tobacco, only paraphernalia.

"Until it's actually used for drugs, then no, there is no need to have a license for selling pipes or bongs or anything like that," Farkas said.

Even the shop's proximity to the KidStar Park, a children's play area with locations both next to and inside the flea market, has no bearing on the sale of bongs and pipes.

Charlotte County Sheriff's Office spokesman Bob Carpenter said in an e-mail that pipes and other products are commonly sold in many locations.

"If you look around our local convenience stores, they also sell papers, small metal pipes, and in some cases empty cigar wrappers, which are legal to sell," Carpenter wrote. "It may be unacceptable to some people to see such items for sale in public places, but they are legal as long as they meet the legal terms of the law."

But Bowerman said the law does not address her concerns.

"I think that this is a family-oriented operation that we have in here in the flea market," she said.

Source: Charlotte Sun
Author: Neil Hughes
Copyright: 2008 Sun Coast Media Group Inc.
Website: Charlotte News

Herb Fellow

New Member
Pot smokers like balloons too!


Well-Known Member
..."They're selling balloons for children and drug paraphernalia, and I have a problem with that," Bowerman said...

Thats just it, it isn't "drug parephenalia" until it is used to consume something illegal. Until then it is just a piece of glass, ceramic, metal, etc. Check and mate. :rasta:
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