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Published August 08, 2011, 10:21 PM

Tense standoff over proposed Moorhead ordinance yields no decision

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - After a tense nearly 2 hour discussion the city of Moorhead has decided to hold off on banning the sale of glass pipes and bowls. The controversial ordinance is meeting stiff opposition, but just as much support. And that made tonight's decision a difficult one.

After a tense nearly 2 hour discussion the city of Moorhead has decided to hold off on banning the sale of glass pipes and bowls. The controversial ordinance is meeting stiff opposition, but just as much support. And that made tonight's decision a difficult one.

It was a dead even 4-4 split on the decision to ban the sale of pipes. The mayor broke it by granting 90 more days of discussion on the ordinance. It was clear by the meeting tonight division on the proposed city ordinance runs deep.

It was a full house at Moorhead city chambers, some even showing their opposition to the ordinance by holding up signs. The ordinance which tries to stomp out the defense of retailers saying they didn’t know pipes would be used for marijuana, and that retailers should reasonably know they will be used for illegal drugs and ban the sale of glass pipes like these.

David Ebinger – Moorhead Police Chief: "We are not trying to put people out of business."

Tom Teply – Discontent Shop Owner: "He doesn't want to put anybody out of business. But it’s quite obvious he's targeted me already. That's what I’ve heard."

Council members were split, some saying the shops have been cooperative in the past when being asked to pull products off the shelves. Others said it creates problems across the river since the pipes are illegal in North Dakota.

Artie Kuhn – For Ban on Pipes: "Illegal activities need to be stopped. Give your police department the tools to do that."

It was clear a decision one way or the other would not be easily reached. The outpouring of support for the ordinance equally matched the opposition to make it law.

Corey Cook – Opposes Ordinance: "I think an ordinance like this is basically telling the citizens they're not smart enough to know what’s good for them."

The council says it will use the 90 days to revamp the proposed ordinance to work with business owners and hopefully come to an agreement so business can go on, and police are able to combat illegal activity.

Shop owners we talked to say they were pleased with the decision and will use it to talk with the city about working together. Police Chief Ebinger says he's disappointed that action make it a city ordinance wasn’t passed.

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