The Laurel City Council is considering an amendment to the city code that would ban the sale of drug paraphernalia within the city limits. The ordinance, No. 616, sets the penalty at $500 and/or 90 days in jail for the sale, advertisement, use or delivery of such items as bongs, hypodermic needles, scales, spoons or pipes.

The council is expected to act by the end of the month on the ordinance, introduced by council member (at-large) Hal Ammann.

Ammann said he patterned the bill after model laws for states and counties prepared by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. He added that it is similar to action the Prince George's County Council has taken to outlaw drug paraphernalia sales.

In some cases, Ammann said, Laurel youths are stealing money or goods from local merchants to buy drug aids. The ban would affect two Laurel retailers who now sell such items, but would carry no authority to penalize merchants, such as medical supply stores, that sell items routinely used to inject or aid in the use of drugs.

"Those merchants will have to decide, at the time of sales, if the items are to be used for legitimate reasons," Ammann said. "It will be totally up to them."

In addition to the drug paraphernalia amendment, the council adopted a bill that established voting registration procedures. It also is set to act on a measure to provide tax credits to residents or businesses that rehabilitate property within the historic district of the city.

The council also authorized $13,780 this week for the purchase of two new police vehicles by the end of April.