Not Everything Is Sunny in Philadelphia

pipe tobacco on sale

The owner of a pipe and bong store in the Philadelphia suburbs, caught up in a crackdown on head shops, was convicted Monday of selling drug paraphernalia.

Craig Hennesy, the owner of a pipe and bong head shop store in the suburbs of Philadelphia has been convicted of two misdemeanor counts of selling drug paraphernalia and could get two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

The owner was caught up in a crackdown on head shops and last Tuesday Hennesy, who is free on bail, said, “I was beyond stunned” and has since denied any further comments. Despite a Montgomery County Court jury hearing testimony from a retired county chief of detectives saying that Hennesy sold the products legally

Hennesy was convicted by a Montgomery County Court jury despite hearing testimony from a retired county chief of detectives Oscar Vance, who said the products sold were legitimate. He also testified that in his opinion the smoking accessories and rolling papers were not drug paraphernalia and reasonably could be used for pipe tobacco.

Inside the head shop at 196 W. Ridge Pike there were several signs that clearly stated that the smoking accessories were sold to be used with tobacco only. Assistant District Attorney Evan Correia said, “This case was difficult to try”.

“I had to overcome the fact that everything was being displayed and advertised for tobacco use only,” Correia said. “But I argued that no one was smoking tobacco out of a three-foot bong. The jury agreed.”

With New Jersey’s governor elect Phil Murphy ready to legalize all forms of marijuana for adult recreational use in 2018 does it make any sense to go after these small head shops? Is it right for a jury to disregard the law and make assumptions that anyone who buys a 3 foot bong is not using it for tobacco and only marijuana. I realize that most are using 3 foot bongs for weed, but it’s not up to the public to decide on their own what other people’s intentions are.

Correia said he could not comment on whether the county planned to continue a campaign against smoke shops.

“Right now it’s illegal. If the law changes, our position will change as well,” Correia said. “But right now it’s illegal, and that’s the way we view it.”

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