Am I at risk for selling drug paraphernalia alongside my CBD products? The answer depends on your local and state laws. Should you risk it?

What is drug paraphernalia?

The term drug paraphernalia refers to any apparatus that is used to produce, conceal, and consume illicit drugs. It includes but is not limited to items such as bongs, roach clips, miniature spoons, and various types of pipes.

Under federal law the term drug paraphernalia means “any equipment, product or material of any kind which is primarily intended or designed for use in manufacturing, compounding, converting, concealing, producing, processing, preparing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance.”

What does drug paraphernalia look like?

Identifying drug paraphernalia can be challenging because products often are marketed as though they were designed for legitimate purposes.

Cannabis pipes and bongs, for example, often carry a misleading disclaimer symbolizing that they are intended to be used only with tobacco products.

What does drug paraphernalia look like?
Drug Paraphernalia

Recognizing paraphernalia often involves analyzing other factors such as the manner in which items are advertised for sale, detailed materials or directions supplementing the items, and the type of business selling the items.

The appearance of paraphernalia differs depending upon the maker and intended purpose. Increasingly, bongs, pipes, and other paraphernalia are manufactured in bright, trendy colors and bear designs such as skulls, devils, dragons, and wizards.

Businesses attempt to glamorize drug use and make their products attractive to teenagers and young adults.

Credit card processors adhere to strict drug laws

Depending on your city paraphernalia laws, credit card processors may deny or cancel your account. For example, Elavon would cover vape stores but not CBD or drug/glass paraphernalia and it couldn’t be sold in the vape shops or they’d close your account.

Paraphanelia is considered high risk and any stores selling it are recommended to have a high-risk merchant account provider.

This might just be another excuse for law enforcement or tax agency to shut someone down. Businesses should check all local and state laws before selling in-store. Some cities fine stores, while some may confiscate your products.

I think in malls it shouldn’t be allowed honestly. Just like you can’t sell cigarettes, cigars, cannabis or liqour at a kiosk.

Former OIG (Office of Inspector General) agent that spoke with

A special license is required to sell paraphernalia in Las Vegas.

Do you live and sell CBD in the city of Las Vegas? Las Vegas city ordinance code chapter 6.82.020 states that each employee of a smoke shop who sells or handles tobacco and marijuana paraphernalia or designated substances, or has daily control of the operations of the smoke shop shall obtain a work card pursuant to LVMC Chapter 6.86, unless that person has been approved for suitability as a principal.

Nothing in this Chapter is intended to limit the application of State law and regulations governing tobacco products, drug paraphernalia, marijuana paraphernalia or substances that are classified or to be classified as controlled substances under State law and regulations, including without limitation NRS Chapters 453, 453A and 453D, and regulations adopted thereunder. 

Las Vegas city ordinance code Chapter 6.82.100

Is drug paraphernalia illegal?

According to the Federal Drug Paraphernalia Statute, 21 USC 863, which is part of the Controlled Substances Act, in the US it is illegal to sell, transport through the mail, transport across state lines, import, or export drug paraphernalia as defined. Possession is usually illegal under State law.

If drug paraphernalia is illegal, how do vape shops operate legally?

According to McClenahen Law Firm, the easy explanation is that vape shops are not actually selling drug paraphernalia. They are selling water pipes, glass tobacco, and novelty pipes. The items only become drug paraphernalia after people leave the store and employ them in an illegal manner.

However, your merchant processor may disagree.

Are you willing to risk your merchant account just to sell water pipes, glass tobacco, and novelty pipes?

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