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Medical marijuana? Nah. Florida Legislature opts for bong-ban instead

@MarcACaputo

Despair, oh head-shop owners and stoners. Or get ready to go to court. Or get ready to smoke your stash out of an apple.

With a big vote in the Florida Senate on Friday, the Florida Legislature has banned the sale of various pipes, hookahs and bongs to crack down on marijuana use.

Gov. Rick Scott will likely sign House Bill 49, which passed the Senate by a 31-2 vote. The bill passed in the House on Wednesday by a vote of 112-3.

State law currently allows certain retailers to sell the pipes. Any sale of marijuana pipes would be a first-degree misdemeanor if the bill becomes law. Second and subsequent violations would jump to a third-degree felony.

Supporters say the bill sends a message against illegal drug use by making the pipes inaccessible at stores that often are close to schools.

Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, voted against the bill. He argued that marijuana isn't a dangerous drug and should be allowed under strict regulation.

Clemens supported a medical-marijuana bill that never got a hearing in the Legislature this year or last. The measure could still end up before voters. Influential trial lawyer John Morgan, a major donor to President Obama and the boss of former Gov. Charlie Crist, is leading up a citizens' ballot initiative. About 7 in 10 voters favor the proposal, according to the most-recent polling.

Users of synthetic marijuana and stimulants could find them harder to come by under another drug bill that Scott this week signed into law.

The Associated Press contributed to this blog

Another drug-related bill, which would allow heroin addicts to exchange their needles to reduce the spread of disease, also appears in jeopardy.

But if your drug is wine, you're in luck.

The Florida Senate on Thursday sent Scott a measure allowing for wine-keg sales.

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