Retailer To Fight Ban on Bongs

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Nov 28, 2002.

  1. 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, 2002
    Copyright: 2002 South Bend Tribune

    CannabisNews Paraphernalia Archives
  2. Wow..that doesn't make much sense. If the police have to have drug residue on the piece in order to make it illegal, how is it illegal if it's brand new?
  3. Hehe the SouthBend tribune eh? thats about and hour from where I live. Anyways, I fuking hate all against this! The people USING it should be prosecuted not the seller, why the fuk cant the government mind their own business!>!?!?!~!?!
  4. That's shitty man... bongs and everything are still legal here in the UK.

    You just have to be 17 to buy them.

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