Stillwater drug paraphernalia ban becomes law, lawyer promises court challenge

This pipe is now illegal in Stillwater.
This pipe is now illegal in Stillwater.

Last month, we told you about a proposed ordinance in Stillwater that would ban drug paraphernalia in the city.

At that time, the ordinance had been approved in a first reading before the City Council, but needed a second approval before becoming law. That second reading happened May 1, after which council members voted unanimously to make the paraphernalia ban city law.

Using a definition of "drug paraphernalia" taken from state statute, the ordinance bans "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.

Under the terms of the ordinance, people caught selling drug paraphernalia could receive a misdemeanor, while anyone who knowingly uses or possesses drug paraphernalia could receive a petty misdemeanor.

During the May 1 council meeting, Rachel Nelson, an attorney representing the owner of Stillwater Tobacco, said she will take the city to court if police attempt to enforce the ordinance. She pointed out that many Stillwater residents of Middle Eastern descent enjoy smoking Dokha and Shisha tobaccos from pipes that are seemingly banned by the ordinance.

"These are perfectly legal [substances] ingested by smoking," she said, according to the Stillwater Gazette. "By targeting these items you are denying their use."

Stillwater modeled the ordinance on one recently approved in the city of Moorhead. The Moorhead ordinance withstood a legal challenge, meaning Stillwater officials have reason to believe their paraphernalia ban can do so as well.

Previous coverage:
-- Stillwater approves drug paraphernalia ban, on forefront of war against glass pipes

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