The City Council judiciary committee is scheduled to act today on a proposed bill that would regulate the sale of drug paraphernalia in the District.
Unlike that in some area jurisdictions, the legislation does not attempt to ban outright such sales, but instead prohibits sales to minors--persons under 18--and sales by street vendors. Some members of the committee are expected to propose amendments to ban the sales entirely, however.
The proposed bill, drafted by council member David A. Clarke (D-Ward 1), chairman of the committee, would require photo identification from purchasers of drug paraphernalia--defined as any object designed or marketed primarily for use with illegal drugs, including cigarette rolling papers, water pipes, cocaine spoons and similar merchandise.
In addition, the legislation would impose a new license fee of $150 for businesses that want to sell such items and provide civil penalties up to $1,000 for violations of the law.
The bill is based partially on model legislation suggested by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding an ordinance by an Illinois community that established the "designed and marketed" test and required the licensing of such paraphernalia businesses. The ordinance banned the sale to minors.
The Chicago suburb, Hoffman Estates, also required that purchasers sign a log indicating what drug paraphernalia items they have bought. That provision is not in the District law.
Council member John Ray (D-At-Large), whose campaign for mayor has focused on crime and illegal drug use, said Monday that he expects to propose amendments in an attempt to ban such sales, rather than regulate them.
Council member Jerry A. Moore (R-At-Large) also is expected to propose changes.
The committee is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. in Room 115 of the District Building. Other members of the committee are H. R. Crawford (D-Ward 7) and Wilhelminia Rolark (D-Ward 8).