SAN ANTONIO – The war on drugs may soon be fought inside San Antonio convenience stories.
The San Antonio Police Department is the only department in the state trying to write up an ordinance that would ban drug paraphernalia from corner stores.
Water pipes, scales, bongs and butane lighters are some of the hottest items sold in one West Side convenience store. Despite the labels and warnings, Noorwali Khan said the items are being used for drugs.
“They’re not smoking it regular, because they will smoke a cigarette but not those. They’re just using it for climax, marijuana, and the pipes they've been using it for drugs, cocaine and heroin and stuff,” Khan said.
Khan has worked at Moon Mini Mart for just over a year. He sells about $300 worth of drug paraphernalia daily. He said while it’s good for business, it’s bad for his customers.
“If you don't have it in the store, any item any pipe, they are going to go to another store. So our business is going to go there,” he said.
A KSAT 12 News crew drove from store to store and found that almost every mom-and-pop shop on the West Side is selling the paraphernalia.
“It's going to be more of your local neighborhood, locally owned stores. I would say seven out of 10 of them probably have it because it sells and it's a revenue item,” San Antonio police Lt. Jimmy Sides said.
Sides works undercover. He said the Police Department wants to target paraphernalia and has drafted an ordinance for the City Council to consider.
“What I'm trying to do is that if you want to carry this material these items, it’s in an adult-oriented store, where you're 18 and above and make your own decisions,” Sides said. “So if you want to carry it, you're going to have a sign posted and no one under 18 can be in your store.”
Sides said he hopes the ordinance will be approved by the fall.
“We've emailed the final draft to the city attorney’s office with our final suggestions on what we want the ordinance to say. From there, it'll go to Public Safety, and after we speak to them about they vetted it and feel comfortable with it, it'll go before City Council for a vote,” Sides said.
If the ordinance is passed and stores continue selling the items, they will be hit with a Class C misdemeanor, which comes with a fine of up to $500.