Sheriff: Legalizing Paraphernalia 

Sheriff: Legalizing Paraphernalia 
Posted by CN Staff on April 21, 2003 at 19:51:56 PT
By Marc Schanz, Staff Writer
Source: Daily Press 
Victorville -- Despite a recent appellate court decision making marijuana smoking paraphernalia legal to possess, representatives of San Bernardino County Sheriff Gary Penrod said narcotics arrests will proceed as usual, including confiscation of the equipment."State law is very confusing when dealing with marijuana from our perspective," said San Bernardino County Sheriff's Detective Robbie Ciolli of the Sheriff's Marijuana Eradication Team. 
If a pipe, bong or smoking device is confiscated in an arrest and discovered to have resin or marijuana in it, someone can be arrested, Ciolli said. "While you can still buy pipes over the counter legally, everything depends on what is in the pipe should you be detained on a marijuana charge," Ciolli said.For some, the move just adds another wrinkle in the state's confusing treatment of marijuana offenses and legislation."I've had my pipes, cleaning instruments, bongs all confiscated before," said Wayne Hobbes, 33, of Hesperia. "I've never been charged with a crime  this is just harassment." Hobbes, a quadriplegic who has a doctor's prescription for medicinal marijuana, said he believes law enforcement is not on the same page as the law."We are having a rough time with law enforcement," Hobbes said. "It's tough to go through litigation with law enforcement. It's expensive and hard and I wish the law could get a straight standard to work from."A California appellate court ruled earlier this month that the possession of marijuana smoking pipes is legal under California law, rescinding a legal precedent that made the possession of such devices illegal.The appeal involved a Riverside County juvenile who was sentenced to five to 10 days in Juvenile Hall after county probation officers searched his bedroom in November 2001, uncovering two marijuana bongs. While prosecutors argued that the devices were illegal under state laws barring possession of bongs for sale, as well as requiring businesses that sell them to exclude sales to minors, the three-judge appellate panel ruled against them. Citing a 1975 state law, the panel said that possession of a device for smoking marijuana was deliberately decriminalized. "The Legislature did not intend this crime to swallow up the possession of a device for smoking marijuana," Justice Betty Ann Richli wrote in the decision. While the state approved the prescription of the drug by physician in 1996 when Proposition 215 was approved, the federal government still considers the drug a dangerous so-called Schedule One narcotic  cracking down on growers and users alike.The decision will probably have little influence on the prosecution of cases, said San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney Ken Smith. Marijuana pipes and smoking devices are already in a lesser legal category from other drug paraphernalia, such as methamphetamine or crack, Smith said, which is why the devices can still be sold over the counter."I don't imagine this ruling would change much relating to marijuana cases we file," Smith said.The ruling comes after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency conducted a series of raids across the country on Feb. 24, raiding more than 100 businesses and homes that were linked to the sale of bongs and pipes, charging 50 people with trafficking in drug paraphernalia. The appeal panels' decision does not affect federal cases, only instances where state law is violated.Complete Title: Sheriff: Legalizing Paraphernalia Not Likely To Change Enforcement EffortSource: Daily Press (CA)Author: Marc Schanz, Staff WriterPublished: Sunday, April 20, 2003Copyright: 2003 Daily PressContact: smw link.freedom.comWebsite: Articles:Pot Bongs Legal - San Francisco Chronicle Paraphernalia Archives 
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