The Boston Police Department and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino recently announced that they are targeting convenience store owners, primarily in Roxbury, who allegedly sell drug paraphernalia, such as "crack pipe kits", and charging them with violating the Massachusetts Drug Crimes Laws.
The investigation was reportedly initiated after complaints from the neighborhood that the stores selling these items would attract too many drug users and addicts.
In all, the Boston Police Department reportedly focused their attention on 14 locations and seized various items the store owners were selling to customers, including 'crack kits', illegal poker machines, Viagra pills, glass smoking pipes, and other items that drug users can allegedly use to support their habit.
14 store owner will reportedly be summonsed and charged with violating the Massachusetts Drugs Laws.
What is interesting about this case is that it appears many of the items that were reportedly being sold are not, in and of themselves, illegal. An item, for example, that could be used for legal purposes and sold lawfully, is now considered to be 'drug paraphernalia' by the Boston Police, subjecting these store owners to arrest and prosecution.
But the question that will inevitably be posed in most, if not all, of these cases, if it's legal to sell the item, then how can the proprietor be prosecuted criminally where it's the buyer who then elects to use the item for unlawful purposes?