Drug Law

Anti-Marijuana Florida Bill Trying to Kill “head shops”

| by NORML
Florida HB187 has now gotten the attention of the cannabis community and a petition is gathering steam to fight this bill.  The language of the bill is written to put so-called “head shops” that sell cannabis smoking accessories.

569.0073 Special provisions; smoking pipes and smoking devices.

(1) It is unlawful for any person to offer for sale at retail any of the items listed in subsection (2) unless such person:

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(a) Has a retail tobacco products dealer permit. The provisions of this chapter apply to any person that offers for retail sale any of the items listed in subsection (2);

(b) Derives at least 75 percent of its annual gross revenues from the retail sale of cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products; or

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(c) Derives no more than 25 percent of its annual gross revenues from the retail sale of the items listed in subsection (2).

(2) The following smoking pipes and smoking devices are subject to the provisions of this section:

(a) Metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic smoking pipes, with or without screens, permanent screens, or punctured metal bowls.  (b) Water pipes.  (c) Carburetion tubes and devices.  (d) Chamber pipes.  (e) Carburetor pipes.  (f) Electric pipes.  (g) Air-driven pipes.  (h) Chillums.  (i) Bongs.  (j) Ice pipes or chillers.

"What, no pipe? Quick, get me a paper clip and a soda can!"

First of all, this will do nothing to stop people from smoking marijuana, period.  The list of things you can use to make a bong or pipe is too lengthy to repost here, suffice to say that a stoner with a bud and nothing to smoke it out of is the most creative human being this side of MacGyver.

Second, I see a truck-sized loophole in the small two-letter word “or”.  If I have a tobacco sellers permit, I have to make 75% or more of my revenue selling tobacco OR make 25% or less of my revenue selling pipes and bongs in order to sell pipes and bongs.  So, then, a convenience store, which makes most of its money on groceries, sodas, and maybe gasoline, but also a bit on cigarettes, has a tobacco permit and could sell pipes and bongs.  Plus they’d have the incentive to do so, since the pipes-and-bongs-only head shops would be shut down, and they could charge more for the same pipes and bongs.

Third, if I really want to keep my head shop open and I have a tobacco sellers permit (as I imagine some must), then all my pipes and bongs are suddenly part of a special deal: we no longer sell them individually, but only as a set that includes a free gram of loose tobacco and a screen.  That $40 bong is now a $10 water pipe + free tobacco + a $30 screen in our new “tobacco smoker’s package”.