Pubdate: Sat, 08 Dec 2007
Source: Patriot Ledger, The  (Quincy, MA)
Copyright: 2007 The Patriot Ledger
Author: Tamara Race, Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Paraphernalia)


WAREHAM - Karen Fontana heaved a sigh of relief, then  cried after
Judge Thomas Barrett found her innocent of  selling drug paraphernalia
in her Pembroke smoke shop -  a ruling that could protect other
retailers hawking the  items.

Police two years ago seized dozens of pipes, water  pipes, rolling
papers, scales and other items from  Brennan's Smoke Shop, claiming
they were primarily for  drug use.

Fontana denied the accusation, saying she runs a  legitimate tobacco
shop and that the items are sold for  tobacco use. She said she
couldn't be held responsible  for what some might do with the products
once they left  her store.

Ruling Friday in Wareham District Court, Judge Barrett  said Fontana
probably knew the items could be used for  drugs. But, noting their
dual uses, he said there was  not enough evidence of that to warrant a

''The officers are not to be faulted for trying to keep  a lid on drug
activity in our communities,'' Barrett  said. ''Using common sense,
you can tell what these  items will be used for.''

Barrett said there was no evidence that the items were  kept in
proximity to drugs or that Fontana or her  clerks ever promoted the
items for drug use. There was  also no evidence of written
instructions or advertising  promoting the items for drug use, Judge
Barrett said.

Pembroke Police Chief Michael Ohrenberger was  disappointed in the
ruling. ''These things are drug  paraphernalia,'' he said. ''You don't
see people  smoking tobacco in them on the streets. Maybe the law 
needs to be changed, but it's our belief that the  intent is clear.''

Barrett warned Fontana that while she may legally be  able to sell
these items, she has a responsibility to  be a good citizen.

''While you can sell these items and hope they are used  for their
intended purpose, arguably they may not be  used that way,'' Barrett

He suggested that it was her responsibility to monitor  her

Fontana said she understands the responsibility and  takes it

''It's never been my intent to sell these items for  drug use,'' she
said. ''We're the last refuge for  smokers. A lot of people are using
water pipes for  tobacco. I never let children into my shops. These
are  legal items.''

Fontana's attorney Ronald Whitney commended, Judge  Barrett's

''These items, in a different context, might be drug  paraphernalia,''
Whitney said. ''I think the  Legislature was trying to outlaw head
shops catering to  the drug trade. (Brennan's) is not a head shop.''

Fontana's son Geoffrey Yalenezian, who manages her  shop, applauded
the ruling.

''It shows people are free to choose what they want to  smoke from,''
he said.
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