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Wendy Reuer, Published January 23 2012

Dilworth passes drug paraphernalia ban

DILWORTH – The City Council here passed a ban on possessing or selling drug paraphernalia Monday night.

Council members unanimously approved the city’s first ordinance of 2012: a law that makes selling what law enforcement deems drug paraphernalia a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Mayor Chad Olson said the new law will take effect Feb. 6.

City Administrator Ken Parke said the ordinance is patterned after those passed by the city of Moorhead in November and Clay County in December.

The Clay County ordinance covers only unincorporated areas. Cities must pass their own ordinances.

“With our ordinance, we wanted to make sure in no way it was meant to regulate legitimate businesses in our county,” Clay County Sheriff Lt. Steve Landsem said Monday.

Neither Dilworth nor Clay County is currently home to any of the head shops such as those in Moorhead, but officials say they wanted to prevent any new businesses from selling the paraphernalia. A 60-day moratorium was passed last year by Dilworth to prevent any new businesses that would sell such items from moving into the city.

Landsem and acting Chief of Police Hunter Rawson showed council members pictures of glass pipes and items that would be considered paraphernalia by law enforcement.

“Anything that is marketed for marijuana that has etchings of 4/20 or marijuana leaves, it’s obviously meant for the sale and the use of an illegal substance. Anything that is a legitimate product for tobacco, we do not consider that for paraphernalia,” Landsem said.

In Moorhead, businesses had been selling the items now deemed illegal. A petition effort to get the Moorhead ordinance repealed or put to a vote of the people has been spearheaded by shop owners and employees. Tom Tepley, owner of Discontent, said he has gathered more than 2,900 signatures in support of sending the matter to a vote.

The city clerk has 30 days to certify the petition.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530