Loaded with a variety of devices generally used to get stoned, weed shops, popularly known by the name head shops are seen staying on the right side of the law by stressing that these products are meant for tobacco use only. Rolling papers, water pipes or vaporizers – inhale marijuana the way you please but don’t disclose that you are smoking weed.
Owners of businesses selling weed accessories find a way to stay safe from the law by stressing that the paraphernalia is for smoking tobacco. However, there is a doubt about what comes to mind while passing by one of these shops. People think of smoking weed, marijuana, herb and whatever else they call it. It is believed that whoever goes in there goes to buy stuff to smoke weed. A group of baby boomers was seen exploring the illuminated display cases of a business on the road. The shop owners refused to comment anything on the business.
Those who are not aware of it, such shops sell pipes made out of metal, glass, acrylic or wood, available in a variety of sizes and shapes. They also sell hand-held bowls which look like household accessories and cartoon characters bear a price tag of under $100. Bigger items like water pipes can cost above $300. As suggested by industry observers, the availability of these devices has grown as the federal government and states softened the laws concerning marijuana. Two states – Colorado and Washington had legalized the use of marijuana for recreation in 1996. After that, the District of Columbia and 20 other states have approved weed for medicinal purposes.
According to a recent survey, about 19 million Americans used marijuana on a regular basis in 2012 as compared to 4 million as surveyed in 2007. A poll disclosed that a majority of Americans up to 58 percent believe marijuana should be legalized. Though the drug remains prohibited in New York, the population of cheap weed smokers is growing in the region and several businesses are opening to cater to this demand. Out of the 1400 licensed tobacco sellers in Rockland, Westchester and Putnam, eight stores were classified as head shops by sites covering the industry.
There is an openness now in the industry. Money goes where the business really is, as long as it is not unsafe. Rather than having to drive miles to reach a head shop, one would prefer to get a glass bowl from a beverage center located in the town. These shops are found to be selling smoking paraphernalia under the name of tobacco equipment due to the federal, state and local laws governing the sale of these accessories. Such store owners cannot be arrested for sale of drug paraphernalia as they claim that the products are meant for tobacco use.
Shop owners sell the accessories believing that it is none of their business to see what the customers do with it after taking it home. Nothing in the store is illegal. Many weed shops post warning signs cautioning customers not to say words like weed or bong during the purchase. Businesses prefer calling their stores ‘smoke shops’ and not anything related to the drug.