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PHILADELPHIA -- City Mayor John Street has signed an anti-drug paraphernalia bill into law, making the sale of flavored blunts, wood pipes, water bongs and other drug paraphernalia items, illegal, according to a report by CBS 3 News.
The signing comes 15 months after Philadelphia police officer and community activist Jerry Rocks Sr. founded "Not In My Neighborhood," a crusade against convenience stores selling items that he argued could be used for illegal drug use.
Rocks told the television station that the battle began when he was stonewalled by Sunoco, Wawa and other retailers who he said sell wrappers that kids buy to smoke marijuana. "I believe they're drug paraphernalia. Sunoco says old men smoke the blunts, and women. But I don't know any women who smoke watermelon blunts and any old men that smoke blueberry and raspberry blunts," he said in a June 2006 interview.
Sunoco released a statement in June claiming to have removed the items in question from its shelves, the report said. The statement read, "Sunoco has responded to concerns in some communities by removing wrapping papers from its convenience stores. We will continue to sell tobacco products. Sunoco has been a leader in programs to prevent sales of tobacco products to minors and works closely with law enforcement and community groups by supporting drug education programs."
Despite Sunoco's claims that the wrappers were removed from shelves, Rocks shared videotape with CBS 3 he said proved those items were still being sold. He then took his fight to the mayor's office and testified in support of legislation to remove 'blunts' and other drug paraphernalia from Philadelphia retail stores at a city council public hearing in October 2006, the report said.
Two months later, council members voted 17-0 to pass Bill 060345, regulating the sales of rolling papers and other items. Wawa then responded by pulling flavored blunts from their shelves, Rocks told the television station.
Much to Rocks' delight, Mayor Street signed the bill into law this Tuesday. "I want to get the word out to all stores to let them know it is illegal, and they have to remove the items from their shelves as of today (Tuesday)," Rocks said.