City commissioners want to outlaw sale of drug paraphernalia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City commissioners want to outlaw sale of drug paraphernalia

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

November 18, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany city commissioners have begun work on an ordinance to outlaw the sale of drug paraphernalia.

The drug commander told commissioners that many stores knowingly sell items that can easily be converted into tools to abuse illegal drugs. Now, they want to stop that and hope to put a dent in the drug problem.

Just a couple of weeks ago, we showed you how easy it is to walk in many convenience stores and buy tools to make a crack pipe, or roll a marijuana joint. Now, Albany City Commissioners plan to make selling those items illegal. 

Commissioner Morris Gurr said, "I think it kind of caught all of us by surprise that things like this were out there across the counter."

Now commissioners are reviewing an ordinance that will make distributing known drug paraphernalia a crime. "Anything that makes it more difficult helps us and I believe helps the community," said Drug Unit Commander Derrell Smith.

Tuesday, Major Smith Smith passed around some of the items found in stores in Albany, including a rose vase he says is used to smoke crack and a seemingly innocent marker with a hidden marijuana pipe inside.

"Do I think this is going to solve the drug problems in Albany and in the United States? No," said Smith, "but at least we're not sitting back saying that they're winning, we're doing something to move forward."

The commission knows they may have legal challenges to the ordinance ahead, but they want to act now to put a dent in the problem. "Let's go ahead and put it in action now and if we ned to change things later we can always go back in and change some things."

But the biggest change, they hope, is to get drug paraphernalia out of the hands of drug users. Here's some of the items listed in a draft of the ordinance:  It includes blunts and papers to roll marijuana, as well as glass tubes and bowls.

If passed during the city commission's business meeting next week, the ordinance goes into effect immediately, though the city will give businesses a heads up on the ordinance changes before enforcement begins.

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