As previously reported, earlier this year City Attorney and mayoral candidate Dennis Herrera launched a crusade against the sale of crack and meth pipes, a crusade he now appears to have the advantage in.
To many, it seemed an issue better settled with SFPD. Instead, in February the City Attorney’s office filed suit against six SF stores they said had violated California Health and Safety Code section 11364.7 by selling crack and meth pipes that were marketed as vases. Those vases would come with accessories such as copper mesh, or “screens,” which most flowers really don’t need.
As the Ex reports, a settlement was reached today prohibiting those stores from selling any more of their “vases.”
“Mission Gifts and Tobacco” at 4784 Mission and “Rock On” (seriously?) at 4447 Mission St. were fined the most ($11,000). “The Platinum” at 5901 Mission St, “House of Cigarettes” at 912 Geneva Ave, and “Tobacco Plaza Center Smoke and Gift Shop” at 3008 16th St. were each fined $5,000.
“The difference in the penalty amounts is based on what the City’s investigation found to be aggravating factors,” Herrera’s office said in a statement. “For example, the operators of 4784 Mission and 4447 Mission received and ignored multiple warnings from the police and this office. Also, there was evidence that the latter deliberately interfered during police inspections.”
The settlement comes with a five-year injunction against each shop, barring them from selling the previously aforementioned paraphernalia, and forcing them to surrender what they have of it to SFPD within 24 hours. 80% of their storefront windows and doors must also be kept clear at all times, while legal tobacco paraphernalia must be hidden in a section unavailable to minors.
“Operators are subject to unannounced inspections and searches of all portions of the store in which illegal drug paraphernalia might be stored,” said the statement from the City Attorney’s office, “and operators are subject to the terms of the injunction at not only their current business, but at any and all San Francisco businesses requiring a tobacco permit which they operate during the term of the injunction, preventing operators from simply closing up their current shop and re-opening at another site to circumvent the injunction.”
If any of the stores violate Herrera’s injunction, they’ll be hit with even more fines, in the form of an up to $6,000 penalty for each violation.
“Each individual item of illegal drug paraphernalia,” the City Attorney’s office says, “constitutes a separate violation under the injunction.”