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Bong Ban in Virginia Outlaws Paraphernalia

Author: Justin Mckibben

There are all types of strange and inventive contraptions out there that have been creatively and craftily designed, labeled for ‘tobacco use only’ as some stores claim, but are ultimately used for smoking marijuana and other drugs. They come in all shapes and sizes, and are sometimes even made to be concealed and disguised as other objects.

Paraphernalia does not just mean those bongs or ‘water pipes’ that you see in head-shops. The term also applies to other accessories and instruments used for the transporting or consumption of illicit drugs. In a lot of cities these days you can find a shop selling these products around almost any corner, but it seems that one part of Virginia in particular is going to extreme lengths to make sure their shelves are not stocked with the tools of the drug trade.

Princeton Paraphernalia Crackdown

The City of Princeton in the state of Virginia recently took what some would see as an astonishing action toward ridding the area of drug abuse with a new ban on all drug paraphernalia and drug concealment novelties, which is sure to put a hurting on their local head-shops.

The new law defines paraphernalia:

“as any legitimate equipment, product, or material that is modified for making, using, or concealing illegal drugs such as cocaine, cocaine-based derivative, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine and includes certain pipes, smoking masks, bongs, cocaine freebase kits, marijuana grow kits, and items such as hollowed out cosmetic cases or fake pagers used to conceal illegal drugs and dealer-specific products used for preparing illegal drugs for distribution at the street level such as scales, vials, and baggies.”

Being in possession of any of these articles of paraphernalia is officially considered a misdemeanor offense under this new legislation, but not every is happy about the implications or confident in the specifics.

Summary of Banned Items

By city ordinance, Princeton has banned number of specific utensils for drug use, especially marijuana accessories such as:

The new law also prohibits items that have traces of illegal drugs, such as:

  • Scales
  • Vials

The law prohibits the use of any items designed to conceal illegal drugs as well, including:

  • Hollowed out cosmetic cases
  • Fake cans of soda with hidden compartments
  • Fake shaking cream bottles with hidden compartments

A lot of times these hidden compartments are made from all types of everyday items you would find in any grocery store or in the home of any modern family, so while they may be a little harder to spot there was once a time where they were available at most shops specializing in ‘water pipe’ and bong sales.

Ironic those devices designed to hide things from the police were regularly being sold right out in public.

Future of Enforcing the Ban

Police Chief J.W. Howell in Princeton made the announcement this past December the ordinance would take effect at the beginning of this month on January, 1, 2015. City Counsel had approved the ban at the end of 2014, and the call to get enforcement started was so police officers could become familiar with the distinctions between legal devices and what is now illegal. Police Chief Howell stated,

“My officers see, almost on a daily basis, needles, crack pipes, marijuana smoking pipes, just all kinds of paraphernalia so this will be a big aid to them as well,”

During a public hearing before the vote, several individuals voiced concerns about electronic cigarettes or vaporizers, and whether or not these devices would be criminalized, or could be considered part of the laws designation. This concern does not go unwarranted what considering the detailed nature of the law, and it is a fact that vaporizers and e-cigarettes have been used to smoke illicit drugs. Will this cause problems for the Princeton vape community?

Either way this whole idea seems strange given the status of a lot of new opinions on such a prohibition-style on drug policy, and the impact the midterms had on marijuana reforms that are still working their way through the nation. Parts of Virginia seem to be set on taking steps in the opposite direction so far.

This just goes to show that some people have very different views of drugs, and how the drug problem in America should be handled. Regardless of politics, an addict should always know that they have an opportunity to avoid being trapped in a life-style dependent on drugs. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

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