The City's Going to Ban Fake Weed. But Is It Also Trying to Outlaw Pipes and Bongs?

On July 29, Mayor Tom Leppert, Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway and Dallas Police Chief David Brown issued the joint press release calling for the ban on synthetic marijuana and salvia divinorum. The mayor got the so-called K2 ban on the fast track: The council's scheduled to make selling it or smoking it a crime punishable with a $2,000 fine on Wednesday.

But that's not all: The press release also said, at the very end, that the mayor's proposal to end the sale of fake weed would also ban the "paraphernalia used to smoke them." But it didn't specify what it meant by "paraphernalia"; neither did the vague PowerPoint presented to the council's Public Safety Committee on Monday, August 2. But a copy of the ordinance dated August 3 (scroll down to Page 31) is very specific -- and it bans the use or possession of, well, pretty much anything for sale behind the counter or behind glass at your finer smoke shops.

The City Attorney's Office wants to add Section 31-32.1 to the Dallas City Code: "Illegal Smoking Products and Related Paraphernalia Prohibited." And the products listed include, but aren't limited to:

... a metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipe with or without a screen, permanent screen, hashish head, or punctured metal bowl; a water pipe; a carburetion tube or device; a smoking or carburetion mask; a chamber pipe; a carburetor pipe; an electric pipe; an air-driven pipe; a chillum; a bong; or an ice pipe or chiller.

In other words, everything but rolling papers. According to the ordinance, "A person commits an offense if, in the city, he ... uses or possesses with the intent to use any illegal smoking paraphernalia to inhale, ingest, or otherwise introduce into his body any illegal smoking product." I've got calls into and e-mails out to city attorneys and law enforcement officials to clarify. Because according to one officer with whom I spoke this morning, this is no different than outlawing bongs and pipes for pot use -- as in, if an officer pulls you over and there's a water pipe in the front seat, you're good to go so long as there's no marijuana or other illegal-drug residue. The new ordinance adds synthetic cannabinoids and salvia to the outlawed list. But another officer to whom I spoke this morning says the inclusion of the word "intent" does indeed allow this to be interpreted as an attempt to ban the bong.

The ordinance, if it passes council, would go into effect August 15.

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