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Monday, June 7, 2010

Pot Paraphernalia Still 'For Tobacco Use Only,' Says State Assembly

Posted By on Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 8:59 AM

click to enlarge 1076_stoned_baby.jpg
For the serious cannabis consumer, only the Volcano Vaporizer will do: The popular $500-plus combustion machine burns only the THC in cannabis -- while leaving the gummy plant matter behind -- resulting in a cleaner, dare we say healthier smoke.

No one in their right mind would breathe vaporizer bags of tobacco. But as far as the California Legislature is concerned, that's the only permitted use -- wink, wink -- for Volcanoes, bongs, pipes, papers, chillums, and many other methods of marijuana dissemination seen in head shops,, and finer bodegas across the state.

And that's how it's going to stay. A bill that would have allowed marijuana-smoking paraphernalia to be finally marketed and sold as marijuana smoking-paraphernalia was shot down in the state Assembly last week.

The brainchild of -- who else? -- Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), the erstwhile hero of cannabis legalization, AB 1811, wouldn't have changed much in the way of anything save for a tweak in the state penal code. That would have allowed merchants to remove those ludicrous "for tobacco use only" signs posted near their impressive arrays of bongs and pipes (and finally be able to, legally, explain to customers exactly what a vaporizer does without risking a bust by curious undercover law enforcement).

Not good enough for 36 members of the Assembly, who outvoted the 33 ayes on Thursday. A dozen members elected not to vote at all. Among the "no" voters were Assemblyman Ted Lieu of Torrance, who is also running for Attorney General, and East Bay Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo), who is author of a bill usurping local control over marijuana dispensaries.

click to enlarge Yeah, that was tobacco in that pipe. Anything else would be unlawful.
  • Yeah, that was tobacco in that pipe. Anything else would be unlawful.
Ammiano's people didn't get back to us by press time, but a statement from the Marijuana Policy Project was predictably unhappy -- and perplexed.

"Even though 74% of voters support allowing medical marijuana, the bill was defeated," wrote Karen O'Keefe, the MPP's Director of State Policies.

It appears the "Save the Children!" crowd has won the day. Had they approved this bill, however, they could have saved the children from accidentally taking a bong rip of Red Man -- or worse.

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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