Hazy Intent


Pinellas County, Florida, has approved an ordinance that imposes a 60-day jail sentence and a $500 fine for selling drug paraphernalia. Unlike the state's paraphernalia law, which requires prosecutors to show that a vendor intended his merchandise to be used with illegal drugs, the county's ordinance bans selling an item "under circumstances where one reasonably should know" that it will be put to an illicit use. (This standard is closer to the one used under federal law, which the Supreme Court has interpreted to require an "objective" definition of paraphernalia, based on "a product's likely use.") The St. Peterburg Times reports that the ordinance inspired some creative protest:

Tamara Pare, 23, an employee of Purple Haze Tobacco & Accessories in St. Petersburg, spoke [at the county commissioners' meeting] while dressed in red heels, a short, peach-colored skirt and a black halter top.

Pare said she was a "visual metaphor" that underscored the ridiculousness of the "reasonably should know" standard in the new law.

"Many reasonable people today might see me dressed like this and think I'm a prostitute," Pare told the board.