Sunday, May 20, 2012
SAUGERTIES, N.Y. — Going into a convenience store in the town of Saugerties and buying a colorful glass pipe is becoming a thing of the past.
On Wednesday, the board voted unanimously to adopt a local law prohibiting the sale, possession or distribution of drug paraphernalia in the town. The new law has been forwarded to the Village Board for its consideration, as well.
“We’re hoping to get paraphernalia out of our convenience stores,” town Supervisor Kelly Myers said. She said the town wants to send the message that it is not OK to buy a crack pipe at your local corner store.
Myers said the idea for the law came after her young daughter pointed to a colorful pipe with a shallow bowl in a store and wanted to buy it, not knowing what it was used for. Myers said she felt it was wrong for such items to be marketed at eye level for children and the children of the community deserve better.
Myers said she was happy about the passage of the local law, which was reviewed by Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright before the board voted on its adoption.
Carnright, a Saugerties resident, supports the law but said he would not be surprised if it faces a constitutional challenge. He said there is legal basis for a municipality to ban items that can lead to criminality or nuisances but that it will be up to the courts to decide if the Saugerties law is too broad.
Carnright said items like crack pipes have no purpose but to be used for smoking crack cocaine. He said there can be some argument made for rolling papers to remain legal, because they can be used with tobacco, not just marijuana, but that “a crack pipe is a crack pipe.”
Carnright said he would prefer to keep such items out of Ulster County entirely.
The new local law follows one the Saugerties Town Board adopted in March that prohibits the sale, possession or distribution of synthetic marijuana, which is sold under such brand names as K2 and Mr. Nice Guy. That local law also was adopted by the Village Board, making the law enforceable throughout Saugerties.
The law adopted Wednesday states drug paraphernalia includes all equipment, products, devices and materials of any kind that are designed for or primarily used to consume illegal drugs. That includes long and short glass pipes with shallow bowls, bongs, roach clips and homemade devices for the purpose of consuming illegal drugs.
Anyone found in violation of the law can be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $100 to $500, up to six months in county jail, or both. Second and subsequent offenses are punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, up to a year in jail, or both.