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Georgia's Head Shop Laws Ruled Unconstitutional
U.S. District Judge Richard Freeman on Monday ruled unconstitutional a Georgia law limiting the sale of drug paraphernalia in so-called "head shops."
Freeman said the law is vague and does not specify what types of drug-related equipment or chemicals are covered by its provisions.
The decision permits the reopening of about 30 "head shops" in the metro Atlanta area which have been closed because of prosecutions by local officials.
The decision means that the stores "can sell all of what they used to sell," said Reber Boult, attorney for some of the shops.
"This is a tragedy for Atlanta's children," said Sue Rusche, executive director of DeKalb Families in Action, one of the leaders in the anti-head shop movement.
"The message those kids will get is that head shops were right all along," she said. "This sets back the work a lot of parents in this city have done during the past three years to try to protect children from drugs."
In his ruling, Freeman said the Georgia law "is woefully silent as to any criteria that would aid in determining whether a person 'designed or marketed' an object as paraphernalia, and hence minimize the risk of discriminatory enforcement."
State Rep. Cas Robinson, D-Stone Mountain, said that during the next General Assembly he will introduce a Model Drug Paraphernalia Act written by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. That act has been upheld several times by federal courts.
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