Outlawing drug paraphernalia and getting tough on distracted driving

At the urging of Sheriff Mike Crenshaw, members of Oconee County Council want their attorney to review other counties’ laws against businesses selling drug paraphernalia for the purpose of proposing a similar ordinance to cover their county. The council’s law enforcement and public safety committee last night also agreed to get tough on distracted driving, including the dangerous practice of texting while driving. Crenshaw said law enforcement in other jurisdictions that have outlawed texting and driving find it difficult to make cases, and he expressed concern about a lengthy legal process that could develop if an officer tried to confiscate a driver’s telephone as evidence. So, instead, the first-term sheriff recommended the county allow his department to engage in a public education campaign on the dangers texting motorists create. But Council Chairman Joel Thrift said he doubts such an education campaign would deter the practice and favors a no texting ordinance, like the ones Clemson, Walhalla and West Union have adopted. Crenshaw gave the committee a lengthy list of items now sold in stores that drug users can buy–items such as rolling papers for marijuana cigarettes. He said there’s an Attorney’s General opinion stating the items amount to illegal drug paraphernalia. Crenshaw recommends a fine of $500 dollars or 30 days in jails for selling the paraphernalia, but he favors “a small grace period” to allow stores to take the items off their shelves.