Ban or not, hash pipes have vanished

Sometimes a word and a handshake can be just as good as a law, and that’s what happened recently in the village of Saugerties when shop owners voluntarily agreed to remove glass pipes, usually considered paraphernalia used to smoke marijuana, from their shelves.

Two months ago, the Village Board shelved a proposed law that would have banned the sale of the pipes and paraphernalia throughout the village. At the time, trustees explained there were too many loopholes in the law and it would never have stood up to a court challenge.

Rather than spending extra money to have the law rewritten by the village attorney, Mayor William Murphy tried something a little simpler to get the items off the shelves of the local convenience stores and smoke shop: he went in and asked them not to sell them.

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And it worked. Today, there are no shops in the village where these pipes, usually used to smoke marijuana, hashish, or crack cocaine can be purchased.

Undaunted by possible legal loopholes, the Town Board took a different tack and passed a measure banning the materials, which are no longer sold in the town. (Though it’s worth noting that the shops that inspired the town’s law are in the village.)

“I have to give the businesses that carried these items in the village a lot of credit,” Murphy said. “The best way was to ask. That’s the way things should work rather than increasing the number of laws we have.”

Harry Barot, owner of the Speedy Mart convenience store on Main Street, agrees. “The mayor came in and we talked. Even though the law did not pass, this is good for the community.”

“Harry totally got it,” Murphy said, as did the Smoker’s Choice smoke shop on Market Street, which removed the items from its shelves as well.

Those who roll their own cigarettes can still purchase rolling papers, but the glass pipes are now gone.

“My real concern was the synthetic drugs,” Murphy said.

Both the village and town passed laws banning the sale of synthetic marijuana and bath salts after numerous nationwide reports of the dangers of these substances.

The New York State Legislature soon followed suit, as did the federal government. Sale of these substances are now illegal, and last week the DEA and ICE conducted a number of raids that took a substantial amount of the substances off the streets.