Bradley Takes a Whack at Narcotics Paraphernalia

Times Staff Writer

Dramatizing his anti-drug campaign theme, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Bradley Wednesday smashed a “crack” cocaine pipe with a hammer at a press conference where he called for outlawing certain drug paraphernalia.

Bradley held a press conference outside San Diego High School to underscore the threat cocaine poses to young people.

Standing behind a card table, Bradley piece by piece identified the objects typically used by crack users, such as a glass pipe and propane or high-proof alcohol to heat the drug into smoke form. He issued the warning that parents “should recognize” the implements as tools of a crack user.

Then with television cameras rolling, Bradley took a hammer and smashed the glass pipe to pieces.


Items such as the glass pipe that “can’t be used for anything legitimate” but are used for drug abuse “ought to be banned,” Bradley said. Current law is inadequate to deal with such items “which have no useful purpose,” Bradley said.

Under a law that went into effect in 1983, it is a misdemeanor to manufacture or sell equipment that is designed or marketed with the “provable intent” to be used with illegal substances.

But in response to the law, some stores that specialize in selling drug paraphernalia have simply advertised the items as tobacco-smoking aids. That makes the current law “difficult to enforce,” said Steve White, chief assistant in the attorney general’s office.

Bradley suggested a “two-tiered” system that will allow sale of items that also have non-drug uses while at the same time banning items like the glass pipes as “drug paraphernalia.”