How are Smoke Shops Reacting to the Bong Bill?
In July of last year, the “bong bill” law was enacted causing serious disturbances among smoke shop owners (also called head shops) all across Florida. The bong bill threatened to close down several smoke shops in Florida as it deemed it illegal for stores to make less than 75 percent of their income from tobacco.
The Bong Bill
After the bill was enacted, several smoke shops everywhere began suing to squash it. Smoke shops everywhere were forced to close because the bill made it a misdemeanor for the shops to make more than 25 percent of their revenue from the sale of bongs, pipes, and any other smoking related items. Around thirty to forty shops joined the cause in acting against the law arguing that the law cannot hold shop owners responsible for the intent of consumers to abuse the products they buy.
Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, is responsible for the bill and is also a recovered crack addict, clean for 13 years. He stated:
“Any police officer, state attorney, or drug counselor can tell you who’s purchasing these pipes and why…the only ones who say they don’t know what’s happening are the store owners.”
Criminal defense lawyers across South Florida are preparing for the repercussions of the law. While the offense is only a misdemeanor, repeating offenders may need assistance from a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer. Drug crimes are usually more serious than the inventory in a smoke shop, but in any case, if you have been accused of a drug crime, a criminal defense attorney will help. By conducting an investigation and making sure you are fairly represented with all pertinent evidence presented, a criminal defense attorney will make sure you have a fair shot at getting your charges lessened, or maybe even having them dismissed altogether.
Smoke shops are waiting to hear from the courts about how they are going to proceed with the lawsuits. Meanwhile, criminal defense attorneys are rolling up their sleeves preparing to defend clients arrested for breaking a highly controversial law.