Pubdate: Sun, 17 Jun 2007
Source: News-Press (Fort Myers, FL)
Copyright: 2007 The News-Press
Author: Pete Skiba
Bookmark: (Paraphernalia)


Councilman Thinks Ban May Be Needed

The sale of bong pipes at Cape Coral stores is stirring enough 
conversation that one city councilman is looking into the possibility 
of banning such sales.

Two stores sitting next to Cape Coral High School feature the pipes 
and other smoking paraphernalia.

Kept in glass cases labeled "for tobacco use only," the pipes are 
exactly the same as the ones popular for smoking marijuana.

"I'm shocked. I can't believe that isn't illegal," said Cape Coral 
resident Janet Santiago, parent of a Cape High student. "I don't 
think it is a very good idea for stores to sell that kind of stuff, 
especially near a school."

City Councilman Tom Hair believes an ordinance may be needed to make 
it illegal for the sale of the pipes and other goods that could be 
easily used for drugs.

"I'm in the preliminary stages of looking into it," said Tom Hair, 
city councilman. "I think it will require research to see what other 
cities do about it."

The city has no ordinance outlawing the sales of the pipes, rolling 
papers or other smoking paraphernalia, said Dolores Menendez, city attorney.

"The thing is they (pipes) can have other uses," Menendez said. "They 
can just as easily be used to smoke tobacco."

The subject of drug paraphernalia came up during a redevelopment 
agency staff meeting with the Cape Coral Police Department about a 
proposed Weed & Seed program.

The police filed a letter of intent with the U.S. Department of 
Justice for the grant to help weed out undesirable activity and seed 
opportunities for youth to use their time in a positive manner.

"I told them there was a shop selling bongs right next to the CRA 
office," said Cape Coral resident Richard Orth, project manager for 
the city's Community Redevelopment Agency.

The Lucky 7 just a few doors to the west of the redevelopment agency 
sells bongs, rolling papers and tobacco.

Whatever the pipes are used for - they are popular.

"They all sell really well," said Mary Ann Gilbert, manager of E&E 
Quik Mart on Del Prado Boulevard just north of Cape Coral Parkway. 
"We sell them to a wide variety of clientele, but you have to be 18 
years old to buy them."

At stores within 50 yards of Cape Coral High School, Cape Foodmart 
and Stop & GO, there are water-cooled bong pipes and spoon pipes that 
could be used to smoke crack cocaine, but are labeled for "tobacco use only."

Cape Foodmart also features ashtrays with marijuana leaves and tiny 
figures smoking what look like fat hand-rolled cigarettes.

Cape Coral police are looking into whether other cities have 
ordinances against such sales. So is Hair.

There are state statutes against the sale of drug paraphernalia, said Menendez.

But there are definitions in the statutes that allow for the sale of 
the paraphernalia if the business owner is a legitimate supplier of 
tobacco, the pipes, rolling papers and other smoking accessories.

Other cities, such as Daytona Beach, have ordinances against the sales.

The ordinances can be found at the Web The state 
statutes are at
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