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Glass Rose Tubes Causing Concern in Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Despite concern from some c-store retailers that the glass tubes holding the tiny fake roses they sell are being used as crack pipes, Kansas Bureau of Investigation officials and the leader of a statewide association said they aren’t familiar with any issues, reported the Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World.

"In my 10 years here, that’s the first time I’ve heard about this stuff," Thomas Palace, executive director of the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association of Kansas, told the Journal-World. "If we received a call from the KBI and they said, 'This is something we’d like to see you pull off the shelves,' I would definitely put that out to the members."

In 1998, St. Petersburg, Fla., police arrested 14 store owners, managers and clerks in an undercover investigation called "Operation Rose," according to a St. Petersburg Times article. Media reports also have cited efforts to stop the roses from being sold in cities including Seattle, Chicago and Milwaukee.

Now, Kansas retailers are starting to take notice.

"It sounds pretty blatant to me," said Jeff Brandau, a special agent in charge with the KBI. "There’s nothing you use a glass pipe for that’s legitimate. Nothing."

Under Kansas law, stores are able to sell drug-related items that have a conceivable legal use, such as rolling papers, as long as they’re not marketed as drug paraphernalia. But many see the flower-in-a-tube setup as a flimsy fig leaf.

"I don’t sell that crap," said Susie Coleman, general manager of Center Distributing in Topeka, which supplies local convenience stores. "They don’t care about the rose. It’s a crack pipe."
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