Monday, November 21, 2011

CITY HALL EYEBALL: Harmonizing drug paraphernalia

Posted on Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 3:46 PM

click to enlarge city_hall_eyeball.jpg

Paraphernalia noun : Miscellaneous articles, esp. the equipment needed for a particular activity

Drug noun : A substance that has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body, in particular

Tonight, the Spokane City Council will discuss the equipment necessary to make, use or conceal drugs. Pipes, bongs, needles, papers, grow lights, hollowed-out books, freebase kits, etc. You get the drift.

The smart money is on none of the council members actually saying "bong" or "freebase kit." It will all be very lawyerly, surely.

The agenda for tonight's meeting reads:

This amendment of SMC section 10.15A.030 is needed to harmonize the penalties associated with misdemeanor drug charges under the Spokane Municipal Code with the penalties prescribed by the Revised Code of Washington.

Previously, if anyone in city limits was caught with paraphernalia, they would be charged with a misdemeanor and, if convicted, the city could fine them $1,000 and throw them in the slammer for 90 days. If an adult was caught delivering paraphernalia to a minor, he could have been punished with a $5,000 fine and could get a year in jail.

If this ordinance passes, in accordance with state law, the person convicted of this misdemeanor can't spend less than 24 hours in jail or be fined less than $250. A second conviction brings a $500 fine.

Where once there was an upper limit, now there's a bottom.

The law does stipulate that the jail term can be deferred if the "local jail facilities are in an overcrowded condition. … If the court finds [that] overcrowding exists, it shall sentence the defendant to a minimum of forty hours of community restitution."

So with all the recent talk about jail overcrowding, paraphernalia holders might get a break. 


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