Retailer To Fight Ban on Bongs

Retailer To Fight Ban on Bongs
Posted by CN Staff on November 27, 2002 at 06:49:59 PT
By Stan Maddux, Tribune Correspondent 
Source: South Bend Tribune 
When a ban against drug paraphernalia takes effect this week, police in New Buffalo plan to find out immediately if a business is still selling bongs and other smoking devices.Despite the threat of fines and jail, Tony Lloyd doesn't plan to remove from his shelves items he believes are perfectly legal to sell. The 25-year-old Lloyd plans to challenge the city in court, if necessary.
''They passed a law that doesn't pertain to us,'' said Lloyd, who owns Bird's Eye View at 24 N. Whittaker St.Since Bird's Eye View opened in New Buffalo six months ago, the city has received complaints about the many bongs and other types of glass smoking pipes for sale, coming in various sizes and shapes.At a time when local school officials are grappling with a drug problem, New Buffalo City Manager Tom Johnson said the timing couldn't be worse.''In all of the middle of this is a store that opens that sells what we believe to be drug paraphernalia,'' said Johnson.Lloyd, though, said nobody can say for sure if the smoking devices purchased from his store are being used for drugs.His customers may be buying the pipes to smoke the many flavors of tobacco he also sells, he said.''I don't know if they're using marijuana or not. I don't hang out with my customers,'' said Lloyd.According to Johnson, the ordinance was drafted by City Attorney Harold Schuitmaker and was unanimously approved by the City Council Nov. 19.Schuitmaker was unavailable for comment.Johnson, though, said the ban is legal because smoking devices that are intended for drug usage are prohibited. That's why rolling papers are not outlawed by the ordinance, because people do use those products to smoke tobacco, Johnson said.''There have been a few court cases on that issue. It's a common-sense type of thing,'' said Johnson.In general, though, Berrien County Prosecutor James Cherry said there must be evidence a smoking device was used for drugs for it to be illegal.A pipe, for example, containing drug residue can be confiscated, said Cherry.''The bong in and of itself is not enough to charge somebody with,'' he said.Bird's Eye View sells more than just smoking devices.Much of the store's merchandise comes in the form of T-shirts, skateboards, incense and body jewelry.There has been a lot of grumbling in New Buffalo's business district, geared toward tourists. Complaints have been made about teenagers loitering, smoking and bad-mouthing customers at other stores as they walk by, said Johnson.Lloyd also operates three other Bird's Eye View stores, in Niles Township, St. Joseph and Benton Harbor.In his six years of doing business, Lloyd said, ''I've never had a problem at any one of those stores, ever. Now, all of a sudden these people are trying to prove a point or something.''The drug paraphernalia ordinance goes into effect today.Due to the holiday, Lloyd's store in New Buffalo won't open again until Friday.Johnson said police will be there after the doors open.Fines of up to $500 a day and a possible 90-day jail sentence are called for if the ordinance is violated.Lloyd, though, said he's already retained a lawyer to challenge any citations.''I really don't know why there's such an uproar over it. It would be different if I did something wrong,'' Lloyd said. Source: South Bend Tribune (IN)Author: Stan Maddux, Tribune Correspondent Published: November 27, 2002Copyright: 2002 South Bend TribuneContact: vop sbtinfo.comWebsite: Paraphernalia Archives
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #3 posted by CorvallisEric on November 27, 2002 at 11:12:37 PT
A legal idea
I wonder if stores could improve their legal standing by selling smoking implements only with a tobacco purchase. Those customers who don't want to kill themselves or their friends this way could use it for insecticide.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by The GCW on November 27, 2002 at 07:47:52 PT
It is legal to have guns...
Why allow citizens to own guns which are threatening and on the other hand disallow citizens owning a bong? You would even think the gun rights people would be a part of fighting this farce.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by delariand on November 27, 2002 at 07:08:45 PT
Only two things you have to do...
and those are pay taxes and die. If these police officers are being paid out of MY taxes to confiscate waterpipes and other "drug paraphenilia", instead of catching murderers and terrorists, I will die an unhappy man.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment