In Florida you may be a felon if you own a pipe

The blog reports, “[S]tarting July 1st, [2013] smoking devices are now illegal in Florida. Anyone found in possession of a pipe two times (even if it has never been used) becomes a third degree felon. In Florida, this means you are permanently banned from voting … With one swoop of the pen Rick Scott may have put thousands of companies out of business, and their employees looking for jobs. They also need to offload their entire inventory before July 1st when the bill goes into effect (yea, only a couple weeks from now).”

The bill in question is FL HB 49/SB1140. Specifically the bill bans:

(a) Metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes, with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls
(b) Water pipes.
(c) Carburetion tubes and devices.
(d) Chamber pipes.
(e) Carburetor pipes.
(f) Electric pipes.
(g) Air-driven pipes.
(h) Chillums.
(i) Bongs.
(j) Ice pipes or chillers.

drug paraphenaliaThe bill establishes the following five drug paraphernalia crimes: 1. use or possession of drug paraphernalia; 2. manufacture or delivery of drug paraphernalia; 3. delivery of drug paraphernalia to a minor; 4. transportation of drug paraphernalia; and 5. advertisement of drug paraphernalia.

Florida Rep. Ray Pilon, a co-sponsor of the bill, when asked about the story responded, “Its correct [bill reference] but the economic negative impact is not an issue nor is the prison impact statement. Truth is these devices are only used to smoke drugs not tobacco and are sold mostly in Head Shops, you know those legitimate free market small business guys just trying to make an Honest buck by promoting the use of illegal drugs. Truth is they are nothing but drug paraphernalia always have been and always will be.”

Small government advocates say Pilon’s statement is very much like the arguments used by anti-gun advocates. The focus is always on the how and not the why. The bill outlaws “drug paraphernalia” (i.e. guns, magazines, etc.) in the hopes it reduces drug abuse (i.e. murders and violence). But how does that stop drug addiction (or the violence that is part of the illegal drug cartels)?

Florida has a major prescription drug abuse problem. The Florida House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, upheld the emergency substance ban on certain drugs announced by Attorney General Pam Bondi in 2011, who has declared war on synthetic drugs.  The committee heard testimony describing the current process for policing synthetic substances, chemically-altered compounds popularly known as ‘bath salts’ and found in names such as ”Cloud 9”, ”Mauie Wowie” and ”Ivory Wave.” “It’s just a little disconcerting that every year we’re back here doing the same, same thing,” said state Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Port St. Lucie,who suggesting penalizing retailers like 7-Eleven who may have some of these substances available.

Many believe the solution must focus on the why, not the how. That is the nut that must be cracked.