cannabisnews.com: Stores Busted for Bongs 





Stores Busted for Bongs 
Posted by CN Staff on August 28, 2002 at 07:29:26 PT
By Sarah Antonacci, Staff Writer
Source: State Journal-Register 
For 15 years, Art Campbell has sold figurines, clothing, incense, candles and smoking equipment at his store, Traveling Treasures, and never knew he was doing anything illegal.But on Aug. 15, agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency swooped into Traveling Treasures, 1048 W. Jefferson St., and confiscated $35,000 to $45,000 worth of smoking pipes and water pipes, known as "bongs." 
"They took all our pipes, saying it was drug paraphernalia," Campbell said Tuesday. "I never knew I was doing anything wrong. "I sell fatigues, and I have policemen in this store almost every day. I always said, 'If you see anything illegal, take it away.' No one's ever said anything. I've never had any problems. And one day the DEA comes in the door."The same thing happened the same day across town at Penny Lane, 2901 S. MacArthur Blvd.Charles "Chick" Delano, attorney for Penny Lane owner Joe Utterback, said the DEA has not yet provided him with affidavits outlining why the agency targeted the stores or inventory sheets documenting what was confiscated."We don't have the benefit of that yet," he said. "I would assume we'd get it some time this week. Frankly, I thought we'd have it by now."Delano said he was told raids had taken place at other similar stores in Illinois. According to employees at Bogart's in Champaign and Mother Murphy's in Bloomington, however, no such raids have occurred there.The local DEA office referred calls to the U.S. attorney's office, where spokeswoman Sharon Paul said she could not confirm that the raids had taken place or whether an investigation of drug paraphernalia sales is under way. The pipes in question can be used to smoke either tobacco and marijuana, although stores have signs warning that the items are sold only for tobacco use. Buyers are carded to make sure they are adults. Some stores will not sell to people who use terminology that indicates they will be using the devices to smoke marijuana. Campbell said he took all those precautions and doesn't understand why the federal government has stepped in."It's like they picked us and Penny Lane to make an example of us," he said. "What are we allowed to carry? I don't want to put stuff here and have them say it's drug paraphernalia. It's crazy. This should be the law across the country and not just in Springfield, Illinois. What about Bloomington? Champaign? The small tobacco shops that sell similar items? It's not a level playing field."Penny Lane, which also sells clothing, candles, posters and other items, has been targeted before. According to newspaper records, Illinois State Police raided the store in 1986 and confiscated two pickup trucks full of merchandise. In 1990, the Sangamon County state's attorney's office considered using Penny Lane as a test case for Illinois' anti-drug-paraphernalia law. The federal government has conducted similar raids periodically in other areas of the country.Kathy Fiedler, owner of Daydreams in Des Moines, Iowa, said her shop was targeted about 21/2 years ago."They whammed my shop, and I can probably tell you which law they're working on - U.S. v. Posters N' Things (actually a 1994 U.S. Supreme Court decision) - which in a nutshell says it's a felony for anyone to possess a water pipe or contemporary hand pipe. It doesn't have to be used or belong to you, but just in your possession." Fiedler said she lost her case and was never compensated for what was confiscated.According to the Supreme Court ruling, authorities do not need to prove that a defendant charged with selling drug paraphernalia knew the buyer would use the items with illegal drugs, but only that their customers are likely to use the items in connection with drugs.A manager at Mother Murphy's in Bloomington said Tuesday it's his understanding the law is based on intent."If you talk something we don't want to hear, we don't sell it," he said. "Nothing has happened here, in Champaign or Peoria. At first, we thought they must have done something wrong in Springfield, but it doesn't appear like that happened. I don't know why it happened."Campbell said it's likely his store will survive the confiscation of the items, although it will be a financial hardship.He emphasized that his business supports community activities, contributing to charities, sponsoring Little League and soccer teams and giving money to police organizations."We're baffled," he said. "We're an accepted part of this community, and now all of a sudden we're villains."Note: Representatives of two businesses say they're puzzled by DEA raids. Source: State Journal-Register (IL)Author: Sarah Antonacci, Staff WriterPublished: August 28, 2002Copyright: 2002 The State Journal-RegisterContact: letters sj-r.comWebsite: http://www.sj-r.com/CannabisNews Articles - Paraphernaliahttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/paraphernalia.shtml
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on August 30, 2002 at 21:39:50 PT
Jonathan
Praying done. For you and your family.
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Comment #11 posted by druid on August 30, 2002 at 14:31:33 PT:
Jonathon
You will be in our prayers and our thoughts. 
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on August 30, 2002 at 13:48:05 PT
Jonathan
I will pray for you! 
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Comment #9 posted by Rev Jonathan Adler on August 30, 2002 at 12:59:06 PT:
Government or Gulag?
I am so tired of the Government agencies spending our tax dollars foolishly. Whether it's a $500 hammer or a $1,000 toilet or a wasted program (pogrom) of eradication of God's greatest herb; we have to stop the madness. I am Jewish, I am a US citizen, I am 50 years old and have five great kids and a loving wife, I am being sentenced on Monday possibly to jail, for having a legitimate religion that uses cannabis for sacrament. The Judge has ruled that I have rights, but he does not have to recognize them. Glass bongs are just glass until something illegal touches it's surface. Paraphenalia is a stretch of someone's mind. Don't be fooled. And please pray for me. Thanks. Rev. Jonathan Adler / Big Island of Hawaii.
Hawaii Medical Marijuana Institute
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Comment #8 posted by Darwin on August 29, 2002 at 12:09:42 PT
Hmmm..
Say I owned a Starbucks and decided to sell PVC pipe, grommets, Screens, and other materials. Could they bust me for that? These "precursers" to paraphernalia are sold readily at Home Depot. But if you assemble them they are illegal. What if you sell kits of Home Depot supplies that any idiot could assemble into a bong? Clearly, there is no place to draw a line here, and the DEA is clearly into cultural warfare.
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Comment #7 posted by krutch on August 29, 2002 at 10:52:45 PT:
The Supreme Court Decision is Outrageous
"According to the Supreme Court ruling, authorities do not need to prove that a defendant charged with selling drug paraphernalia knew the buyer would use the items with illegal drugs, but only that their customers are likely to use the items in connection with drugs."By this logic any store that has sold baking soda is guilty of a felony. Baking soda is used to make crack.The government has gone insane. I think they have better things to do with their time than to bust stores selling waterpipes. This is a waste of our tax dollars.
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Comment #6 posted by pokesmotter on August 29, 2002 at 07:51:06 PT:
this is outrageous!!!!!!!!!!
i am from springfield, though now at college in peoria and was horrified to hear this. i have been a customer at these fine stores for years now. they have not broken any laws. it is truly a waste of our tax dollars to do this. once again i feel ashamed to be from illinois.
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Comment #5 posted by mayan on August 28, 2002 at 16:59:29 PT
Showin' Who's Boss...
Delano said he was told raids had taken place at other similar stores in Illinois. According to employees at Bogart's in Champaign and Mother Murphy's in Bloomington, however, no such raids have occurred there.The Feds are probably afraid of pissing off even more college kids(whose friends have been denied Fed financial aid because they smoked a joint in high school)in Champaign(U of I) & Bloomington(ISU). These kids would get proactive & raise some major hell! This is all to ludicrous! Besides screwing with a few honest businessmen's livelihoods, the Feds are taking tax revenue from the already struggling state of Illinois. Even if these neo-nazis did close down every head-shop in America, people would get creative & make bongs & pipes that are even better than store-bought! This is all a matter of showing who's boss. Well, Feds...enjoy it while you can because your ship is sinking fast. 
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Comment #4 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on August 28, 2002 at 13:45:45 PT
Operation Peacepipe
  Richard Cowan had a great idea regarding this whole issue:
http://www.marijuananews.com/news.php3?sid=571
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Comment #3 posted by John Tyler on August 28, 2002 at 10:11:00 PT
paraphernalia 
The other week I was in a stripmall. I walked past a store front. The front window was full of brand new, real, Middle Eastern hookas. I went in. It was an international food store operated by some Middle Eastern people. I'm not sure what the paraphernalia laws are in VA, but this looked pretty good (I mean blatant). I was thinking about getting one for decrative purposes in my Victorian living room. 
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Comment #2 posted by BGreen on August 28, 2002 at 09:28:00 PT
The narcs are having a party
and needed to steal some bongs to use. I wonder who they're going to bust to get their cannabis?God created it, humankind can't destroy it, and I sure do enjoy it. ;-
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Comment #1 posted by Dark Star on August 28, 2002 at 09:01:49 PT
Crazy
Such raids are foolish in every respect, and do nothing to reduce use of marijuana. It is merely a way for DEA to say that they are doing something and attempt to justify the tax revenue they waste.
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