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Getting ahead of the head shops

Tiffin to hold public hearing on banning drug paraphernalia

TIFFIN– Whether you aspire to open a head shop in Tiffin, or to make sure one never does, you might want to attend a public hearing on the matter March 12.
The Tiffin City Council set a public hearing to discuss an ordinance that would prohibit the use, possession, manufacture or sale of drug paraphernalia within city limits. Tiffin City Administrator Michon Jackson said in an email last week it was a proactive maneuver some cities are taking in light of recent changes to marijuana laws in other states.
“We have not been approached about anything (relating to the matter),” said Jackson. “But several (city) managers located in Iowa are adding these specifications in preparation of the future and, if (controlled substances) become legal at a later date, it is easier to eliminate than to add. It is (so we can) be prepared.”
Jackson shared a similar ordinance active in Bettendorf for the council to consider. The language in Bettendorf’s ordinance defines paraphernalia as “all equipment, products and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use, in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, concealing, containing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance,” and further describes such equipment and factors used to determine the intent of possessing as it relates to controlled substances.
Council member Peggy Upton questioned the general language.
“A lot of the items in the proposed ordinance include common household items that everybody in town has in their kitchen,” said Upton, “but the primary purpose is to prevent an establishment from selling paraphernalia within city limits.”
City Attorney Crystal Raiber noted that Tiffin already has an ordinance prohibiting drug paraphernalia, but it is relatively short and not detailed.
“It already gets to the point that you can’t sell it; this goes much more in depth,” said Raiber.
The resolution setting the public hearing passed 3-2, with councilors Jim Bartels and Mike Ryan voting against it.
“We have plenty of laws and rules and regulations to put people in jail,” said Ryan. “This country has more people in jail than any country in the world. I don’t think we need more.”
Mayor Steve Berner said the ordinance was not intended to incarcerate offenders.
“This will just limit certain kinds of business being allowed in town,” said Berner.
“I know,” countered Ryan. “I just don’t want to have any part of it.”
The public hearing will be held at the council’s regular meeting, beginning at 7 p.m. on March 12 at city hall, 300 Railroad St., in Tiffin.