Forest Lake police declare war on glass pipes
But what if you just intend to smoke tobacco out of them?
Last year it was Stillwater and Hudson. This year, the war on glass pipes has moved north to Forest Lake.
In an attempt to make sure the Washington County exurb never produces another ganja-crazy youth like Royce White, the Forest Lake Police Department recently sent mailings to Dazy Maze and the other head shop in town informing business owners about a proposed change to city ordinance criminalizing the sale of pipes, bongs, and other items that could "reasonably" be used to smoke drugs.
Capt. Greg Weiss last week sent out letters to area businesses known to sell such items. The outreach served notice of the department's intentions and explained the potential punishments for violation. Buyers would be committing a petty misdemeanor; sellers would be committing a misdemeanor.
For the department's plan to take effect, the City Council will ultimately have to approve the updated drug paraphernalia ordinance that came before the governing body at its March 5 workshop...
The ordinance's effect on stores would vary based on the overall nature of their business, but for at least a couple, it would be significant.
"If they abide by this ordinance, their stock is going to be severely depleted," Weiss said...
To Weiss, the proposal is grounded in common sense, and the consequences of inaction would continue to grow. He notes that none of Forest Lake's immediately surrounding communities have such shops, and that, he says, drives drug users into this city.
"Let's face it, who's going to smoke tobacco out of a glass pipe that's specifically used to smoke methamphetamines?" Weiss said. "That's foolish. It's foolish to let it sit in our city and not do anything about it."
As we told you about last year, the legal precedent for controversial city ordinances of this sort was established in late 2011 when a U.S. District Court ruled the city of Moorhead had legal grounds for banning "objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing controlled substances," including glass pipes, water pipes, roach clips, and chillums.
That's an unfortunate development for head shop owners. But for smokers, where there's a will, there's a way, and grocery stores aren't about to ban apples anytime soon.
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