Pubdate: Thu, 15 Jul 1999
Source: Foster's Daily Democrat (NH)
Copyright: 1999 Geo. J. Foster Co.
Author: Nick Henderson, Foster's Daily Democrat Staff Writer



DOVER -- The Garrison City officially became the first place in New
Hampshire to adopt an ordinance specifically banning the sale of rolling
papers to minors.

While other communities may include rolling papers in ordinances banning
the sale of drug paraphernalia, City Attorney George Wattendorf said as far
as he knows, Dover is the first to adopt legislation targeting the product.

Effective immediately, anyone caught selling rolling papers to a youth
under 18 or any minor caught in possession will be subject to a fine of up
to $100.

At its Wednesday meeting, the council passed the ordinance unanimously
after hearing students from the city's Youth to Youth group and Councilor
Peter Schmidt explain why minors have no business buying the product.

"Our group feels rolling papers should not be sold to youths under 18,"
said Youth to Youth representative Anna Visciano. She justified her
argument by pointing out that rolling papers are only used for tobacco, a
substance illegal for minors to consume, or marijuana, illegal to all ages.

She explained how the group of middle school students concerned with
curbing drug and alcohol use went to area stores and attempted to purchase
rolling papers. The group found an alarming number of stores sold the
papers to the youths without questioning.

The stores that refused sales to minors during the study received letters
of appreciation from Youth to Youth.

"Rolling papers are essentially designed to smoke something. There's no
legal purpose for minors to acquire these rolling papers," explained
Schmidt, who sponsored the ordinance. "This is an easy decision for me and
it should be for the rest of the council as well."

The ordinance easily sailed through, despite the council barely making
quorum. Five councilors were in attendance, just barely meeting the
requirement to pass legislation and conduct official business.

The ordinance does have room for leniency because the penalty is up to the
discretion of the district court judge. Schmidt noted if a merchant sells
to a minor through an oversight or a youth is caught for the first time,
circumstances may warrant a lesser fine.
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