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The Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee approved on Sunday a law banning the sale of bongs ? water pipes often used for the smoking of marijuana.

The law, which was approved in the second and third readings, prohibits the sale and import of apparatuses geared for the production and consumption of illicit drugs. The main objective of the new law is to put an end to the sale of bongs at stores adjacent to educational institutions.

The law stipulates that the punishment for the sale of bongs will not exceed five years incarceration. However, the Knesset committee withdrew the clause that prohibits the possession of paraphernalia used for personal drug use.

The law applies to all apparatuses used for the production and consumption of illicit drugs, but mentions by name only the bong.

The explanation attached to the wording of the law states that "the sale and import of bongs has dealt a blow to the country. Smoking devices are sold in kiosks and grocery stores adjacent to schools and other places frequented by young people, and are imported into Israel in large quantities."

Even before the new law was approved, the existing law prohibited the sale and possession of devices used to produce or consume drugs, and even attached a maximum 20 year jail sentence as a penalty to such a crime, but the existing law is difficult to enforce because the courts insist that the device in question contain at least traces of illicit substances.

The new law still awaits approval in the second and third readings before the Knesset plenum.