Other Talk "Otterville" plus Religion/Politics

Why is it illegal to sell "drug paraphanelia?"

Old 05-26-05, 01:43 PM
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Why is it illegal to sell "drug paraphanelia?"

I always wondered this. Tommy Chong got busted last year for operating a website called "Chong's Bongs" that sold water pipes. Why is a bong or water pipe illegal? Before its used for marijuana, its just glass or plastic - really no different from the pipe you buy at the tobacco store. I don't get it.

And then it seems that for brick and mortar stores, the laws are made at a city level. One city has shops and the next one they are illegal.
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Old 05-26-05, 01:46 PM
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Whatever explanation is presented, you can be sure it won't make any sense.
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Old 05-26-05, 01:47 PM
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You might as well ask the same question about sex toys. Before it's inserted into an orifice a dildo is just an artificial replica of a body part.

The reason of course is that we live in a puritanical society where local laws are determined by blue-haired old ladies and uptight Baptists.
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Old 05-26-05, 01:47 PM
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For instance, why can I buy rolling papers? Aren't they analogous (with bongs, that is)?

Last edited by CRM114; 05-26-05 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 05-26-05, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
You might as well ask the same question about sex toys. Before it's inserted into an orifice a dildo is just an artificial replica of a body part.

The reason of course is that we live in a puritanical society where local laws are determined by blue-haired old ladies and uptight Baptists.
But I'm specifically wondering about the federal case against Tommy Chong. Is a water pipe in and of itself illegal? Was it because Chong had pot leaves on the site?

I remember back in the early 80's when head shops were still around, the word "bong" was off limits in the store. They had to say "water pipe" and stress the use of tobacco.
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Old 05-26-05, 01:49 PM
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Depends on the city. They have a chain of stores here in AZ called Trails. They sell all sorts of "tobacco" paraphernalia that I'm sure is used for anything but.

I think Tommy Chong got into trouble not because he was selling where he did, but rather over the Internet to cities and municipalities that had regulations against it. Not unlike some states that won't allow for Porn items to be mailed.
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Old 05-26-05, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
For instance, why can I buy rolling papers? Aren't they analogous (with bongs, that is)?
I buy rolling papers all the time at tobacco shops. They are still, technically, for tobacco. I guess it's because bongs are for only weed (although I guess you could smoke tobacco out of it).
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Old 05-26-05, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by dick_grayson
I buy rolling papers all the time at tobacco shops. They are still, technically, for tobacco. I guess it's because bongs are for only weed (although I guess you could smoke tobacco out of it).
My Egyptian neighbor uses one for just that purpose. Well, actually it's a hookah, but I guess that's pretty much the same thing.
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Old 05-26-05, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by dick_grayson
I buy rolling papers all the time at tobacco shops. They are still, technically, for tobacco. I guess it's because bongs are for only weed (although I guess you could smoke tobacco out of it).
Thats the point. Before the bong is used for something illegal, its just a pipe. It could be used to smoke anything.
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Old 05-26-05, 01:54 PM
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I had no idea the sale of bongs were illegal? That's odd.
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Old 05-26-05, 01:55 PM
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BTW, the misspelling of paraphernalia in the title makes it sound like some kind of sexual deviance.
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Old 05-26-05, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
My Egyptian neighbor uses one for just that purpose. Well, actually it's a hookah, but I guess that's pretty much the same thing.

I know what you mean. Hookahs aren't nearly as harsh, though (in my experience) and the tobacco is flavored and so on.
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Old 05-26-05, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Deftones
BTW, the misspelling of paraphernalia in the title makes it sound like some kind of sexual deviance.
Wow. I totally hosed that. And looking at the correct spelling, I would have never guessed that either. ERN? I'm pretty good at spelling usually too. Damn bong!
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Old 05-26-05, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by dick_grayson
I know what you mean. Hookahs aren't nearly as harsh, though (in my experience) and the tobacco is flavored and so on.
Hookahs are pretty damn harsh.
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Old 05-26-05, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
Hookahs are pretty damn harsh.
lightweight
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Old 05-26-05, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
Wow. I totally hosed that. And looking at the correct spelling, I would have never guessed that either. ERN? I'm pretty good at spelling usually too. Damn bong!
Why do you think they call it "dope"?
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Old 05-26-05, 02:04 PM
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That doesn't make any sense. In Newport Beach there are quite a few head shops that sell that stuff.
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Old 05-26-05, 02:11 PM
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Still trying to dig up more. Found this:

"Chong was arrested as part of Operation Pipe Dreams, a crackdown, instigated by Attorney General John Ashcroft , on businesses that sell drug paraphernalia over the Internet. Chong served nine months because he was a principal investor in his sonís business, which sold glass-blown bongs over the Web with no explicit reference at any time to marijuana use. (His son was not convicted of any crime in the case.) Chong likes to call himself ďa political prisoner.Ē"
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Old 05-26-05, 02:17 PM
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Hookah's are great. I wouldn't buy one because I don't want to smoke regularly (tobacco), but they are chill to smoke with your friends. raspberry sticky tobacco.
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Old 05-26-05, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
But I'm specifically wondering about the federal case against Tommy Chong. Is a water pipe in and of itself illegal? Was it because Chong had pot leaves on the site?

I remember back in the early 80's when head shops were still around, the word "bong" was off limits in the store. They had to say "water pipe" and stress the use of tobacco.
It's still that way at the few head shops out there. The one in my town has a big sign saying:

"We do NOT sell 'Bongs', we sell Tobacco Water Pipes. If you refer to them as 'Bongs' you will be asked to leave the property immediately."

It actually could be that he had pot leaves on the site. Bongs are supposed to be sold only for tobacco use, and I guess if you advertise that you can smoke pot out of it, then it crosses the line that you're actually selling drug paraphernalia.

Basically, the water pipe itself is legal so long as it's sold for tobacco. If you promote that you're selling it for marijuana use, or know that the person buying it will use it for pot, then it's illegal. (Of course, they know *most* of the people buying it will use it for pot, but it's a technicality.)

IIRC, even in High Times Magazine the bongs they sell aren't called "bongs" for that reason as well. Yet, they can sell products that clean THC and other drugs out of your system, fully expressing that it is for cleaning "THC and other toxins."



"Operation Pipe Dreams"
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Old 05-26-05, 02:20 PM
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Am I the only one that finds this absolutely ludicrous. If you call it a "bong" its illegal. If you call it a "water pipe" its not.

So if I sell sawed off shotguns and call them "sawed off shotguns", I go to jail. If I call them "shortened-barrel firearms" I'm cool?
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Old 05-26-05, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by WhoGirl
It's still that way at the few head shops out there. The one in my town has a big sign saying:

"We do NOT sell 'Bongs', we sell Tobacco Water Pipes. If you refer to them as 'Bongs' you will be asked to leave the property immediately."

It actually could be that he had pot leaves on the site. Bongs are supposed to be sold only for tobacco use, and I guess if you advertise that you can smoke pot out of it, then it crosses the line that you're actually selling drug paraphernalia.

Basically, the water pipe itself is legal so long as it's sold for tobacco. If you promote that you're selling it for marijuana use, or know that the person buying it will use it for pot, then it's illegal. (Of course, they know *most* of the people buying it will use it for pot, but it's a technicality.)

IIRC, even in High Times Magazine the bongs they sell aren't called "bongs" for that reason as well. Yet, they can sell products that clean THC and other drugs out of your system, fully expressing that it is for cleaning "THC and other toxins."



"Operation Pipe Dreams"
yeah there's a head shop like that around here too, where you have to refer to them as water pipes. I thought that was the strangest thing too.

Sorry I don't call my 4 footer a "water pipe"
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Old 05-26-05, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
Am I the only one that finds this absolutely ludicrous. If you call it a "bong" its illegal. If you call it a "water pipe" its not.

So if I sell sawed off shotguns and call them "sawed off shotguns", I go to jail. If I call them "shortened-barrel firearms" I'm cool?
reminds me of "Operation Iraqi Freedom"
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Old 05-26-05, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by dick_grayson
reminds me of "Operation Iraqi Freedom"
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Old 05-26-05, 02:43 PM
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Here's an NPR/Fresh Air interview with the guy who prosecuted Chong.

Chong's Prosecutor: Operation Pipe Dreams
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...toryId=4488905

Here's the interview with Chong:
Tommy Chong: Free, and Back on the Road
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...toryId=4488902
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