Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Head shop owners don't like Florida's new 'bong bill'

TAMPA — A state law that makes it a crime to sell smoking devices such as pipes and bongs at most head shops takes effect Thursday.

And that has some of the shop owners fuming.

So much so that 26 of the specialty retail stores across the state have filed a lawsuit in Hillsborough County to stop the law, calling it unconstitutional.

The law "singles out a specific type of retail business, and criminalizes the owners," the lawsuit filed on June 18 said.

Beginning Thursday, stores may sell bongs and pipes only if they have a state license to sell tobacco and derive 75 percent of their annual revenue from tobacco products, or no more than 25 percent from the smoking devices.

According to the law, smoking devices include any metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic or ceramic smoking pipes, water pipes or bongs.

For Rep. Darryl Rouson, the St. Petersburg Democrat who sponsored the so-called bong bill, the law reveals the truth behind a charade going on for years.

"Everyone knows what's being smoked out of these pipes; the only ones who claim they don't know are the sellers of these pipes," he said. "The law just tries to chip away at what we know is a facade."

The lawsuit, filed against the state by businesses including G-Spot III in Tampa and Mellow Mood in Pinellas Park, also says the law is problematic in its approach to determining which businesses can legally sell the smoking devices in such a short time frame.

The law "cannot be validly enforced because there is no provision for any method to determine" the percentage of sales or the annual revenue made through the sales of tobacco products or smoking devices, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit suggests an effective date of July 1, 2011, instead.

An attorney for the businesses could not be reached Monday.

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at (863) 226-3374 or [email protected]

Head shop owners don't like Florida's new 'bong bill' 06/28/10 [Last modified: Monday, June 28, 2010 11:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rick and Tom podcast: Where does Winston rank among top QBs?

    Blogs

    Where does Bucs QB Jameis Winston rank among current NFL QBs this year? The result might shock you. Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down a new poll by Sports Illustrated in their latest podcast.

    Where does Jameis Winston rank among the NFL's top quarterbacks?
  2. Early morning fire breaks out at Clearwater Beach motel

    Fire

    Clearwater Fire and Rescue is at the scene of an early morning fire that broke out at a motel on Clearwater Beach.

  3. Florida education news: Free speech, Schools of Hope, student voices and more

    Blogs

    FREE SPEECH: The University of Florida reluctantly hosts white nationalist activist Richard Spencer for a rally officials are encouraging students to ignore. Campus president Kent Fuchs, who tried to prevent the activity from taking place, Troopers prepare for Richard Spencer's speech at the University of Florida. Gov. Rick Scott has declared a State of Emergency for Alachua County ahead of the event.

  4. How old is too old to go trick-or-treating on Halloween?

    Human Interest

    Brandi Eatman guesses the boy was at least 15 years old.

     Costume accessories at House of Make Believe at 1055 N Hercules Ave. in Clearwater. [CHERIE DIEZ | Times]
  5. Report: West Pasco channel dredges could cost up to $13.5 million

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — The cost of dredging a dozen coastal canals serving seven west Pasco communities could reach nearly $13.5 million, according to a consultant's report.

    WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times
 A consultant recommends that Pasco County consider a dozen canal dredging projects in west Pasco's coastal communities at a cost that could reach nearly $13.5 million. [WILL VRAGOVIC, Times 2011]