COUNCIL TO WARN PIPE SELLERS
Proprietors of pot pipes, bongs and other drug paraphernalia in Maple Ridge will be receiving a letter soon from city hall asking them to pull the pipes off their shelves, or put them out of view of children.
"You go into a corner store and they're right there at the (eye) level of a six-year-old. That's reprehensible," fumed Maple Ridge mayor Kathy Morse, who led the call for local businesses to stop selling pipes and other items used to smoke drugs Monday.
Because the district has no legal right to force store owners to drop pipes and bongs from their inventory, the district is hoping local business owners will remove the items on their own as a show of "community spirit."
The decision to pen a letter asking for drug paraphernalia to be yanked from store shelves is the latest move by the district and other groups working to reduce drug use in Maple Ridge.
That campaign began with a volunteer group led by the Meadow Ridge Rotary Club, which last year declared war on crystal meth.
That led to a series of town hall meetings and other initiatives to rid the community of meth and other drugs.
But Morse says that despite all the work and money that's being dumped into the anti-drug campaign, it's frustrating to know that a host of local stores are blatantly selling everything needed to smoke pot or meth.
"We've spent a lot of money to reduce drug use and (still) we have stores selling a variety of the things (drug users) need to consume," the mayor said.
Last Friday, the TIMES hit the streets and visited a number of stores to see who was selling drug paraphernalia.
The TIMES purchased a pot pipe from one shop that had an extensive display of pipes and bongs of all varieties and price ranges in a display case at the front of the store, making the pipes the first thing a customer would see.
While the pipe was being purchased, a group of young teenage boys were crowded around the display case marvelling at the wares and enthusiastically commenting on what pipe or bong "was the bomb" and which one they wanted to buy.
A second glass pipe (the one pictured above) was found in a corner store on Dewdney Trunk.
Those examples are precisely why Maple Ridge wants to see the sale of drug paraphernalia axed and hopes business owners will comply with the request.
On Monday, all five councillors agreed a letter was appropriate, but Coun.
Faye Isaac questioned whether shop owners might be selling pipes or bongs without knowing what they are used for.
That suggestion was quickly shot down by Mayor Morse, who said "not for one second am I going to buy that a store owner doesn't know what they're selling."