Online Articles on Criminal Law
Florida Targeting Sales of Pipes and Bongs
By Nathan Ryan LaBar | Criminal Defense Attorney
Published on: 2013
In the latest development in Florida lawmakers' war on drugs, in May 2013 both houses of the Florida legislature passed bills that would prohibit the sale of many pipes and bongs. The legislation awaits Gov. Rick Scott's signature in order to become law.
Classifying Pipes as Drug Paraphernalia
Florida House Bill 49 and its companion measure in the Senate would make it illegal for store owners to "knowingly and willfully" sell pipes and bongs to people for the intent of smoking illegal drugs. Those convicted of a first offense would be guilty of a first degree misdemeanor. All subsequent violations would be third degree felonies. The lawmaker who proposed the measure stated his aim was to reduce drug use in the state by making it more difficult for people to obtain the means to smoke illegal drugs. The bill specifically exempts meerschaum, briar, clay and corncob pipes from the sales prohibition, as people do not use such pipes for illegal drugs. The proposed legislation also does not ban the sale of hookahs.
Critics of the bill have suggested that the bill creates an ambiguity that is confusing for store owners; it is unclear whether store owners may still sell pipes and bongs if the customers state they intend to use the products to smoke tobacco. Those who oppose the bill also note that outlawing these pipes and bongs will create a black market for the items, increasing crime associated with illegal sales. Additionally, the bill punishes those who use the pipes for tobacco, a legal product.
Florida Drug Paraphernalia Laws
Penalties for violating the laws regulating the possession and distribution of drug paraphernalia in Florida can be severe. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000. Manufacture or delivery of drug paraphernalia is a felony of the third degree, punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000.
Talk to a lawyer
The latest legislation dealing with drugs shows how seriously Florida authorities take drug offenses. Florida officials dedicate a great deal of time and resources to investigating and prosecuting such cases. If you are facing drug charges, you need someone one your side who is working just as hard to protect your rights. Call us today to speak with an experienced Central Florida drug defense attorney without delay. You may reach us at 1-866-680-4LAW or fill out our online form located at the top of the page and we will contact you shortly. We respond to after-hours messages promptly. Evening or weekend appointments are available upon request. We respect your privacy and will keep all your information confidential.