12:13 PM EDT, April 26, 2013
A bill that would have previously banned pipes, bongs and hookahs but has since been watered down is now en route to Gov. Rick Scott.
The bill passed the Senate 31-2 Friday after passing the House earlier this week.
The bill prohibits stores from “knowingly and willingly” selling smoking devices that will be used to ingest illegal drugs. However, the retailer can offer the devices if they are to be used for tobacco smoking. Offenders could face up to a year in a jail or a $1,000 fine.
The bill provides specific protections for wooden, briar, meerschaum, clay or corn cob pipes because sponsor of the bill Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, has repeatedly assured legislators that the bill is not going after “grandaddy’s corn cob pipe.”
In debate Thursday sponsor of the bill Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, said she had been “assured” that hookahs would not be removed from shelves under her bill.
Rouson said earlier this week he knows it will not stop people from buying the smoking devices for illegal drug use. He has said repeatedly the intent is to make purchasing devices to smoke marijuana or other drugs less convenient for them. However the revised bill allows the devices to stay on shelves so the level of convenience for buyers remains the same.
The “no” votes on the bill came from Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Miami, Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, Rep. Halsey Beshears, R-Monticello, and Rep. John Tobia, R-Melbourne Beach.
Copyright © 2014, Orlando Sentinel