U.S. Targets Purveyors Of Gear for Illicit Drugs 

U.S. Targets Purveyors Of Gear for Illicit Drugs 
Posted by CN Staff on February 24, 2003 at 21:16:16 PT
By Susan Schmidt, Washington Post Staff Writer
Source: Washington Post
Federal law enforcement officials announced a major crackdown on purveyors of drug paraphernalia yesterday, indicting 55 people and 10 national distribution companies that have become multimillion-dollar businesses allegedly by using the Internet to sell items such as marijuana pipes and bongs.Many of those indicted were arrested in simultaneous raids across the country, from Pennsylvania, where the investigation began, to California, where one raid involved a bong manufacturing firm associated with Tommy Chong, who lampooned the drug culture as part of the comedy team Cheech and Chong. The firm, Chong Glass, was not indicted. 
In addition to raiding warehouses and head shops, federal agents led by the Drug Enforcement Administration disabled a dozen Web sites that allegedly marketed drug paraphernalia. Officials said yesterday's action shut down more than half the distribution of drug paraphernalia in the United States."With the advent of the Internet, the illegal drug paraphernalia industry has exploded," said Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, who announced the indictments. He and other officials said the products, which include marijuana pipes hidden in lipstick tubes and markers, have in some cases been specifically marketed to young people."Quite simply, the illegal drug paraphernalia industry has invaded the homes of families across the country without their knowledge," Ashcroft said. "This illegal billion-dollar industry will no longer be ignored by law enforcement."Federal law expressly prohibits the sale or importation of water pipes, bongs, marijuana pipes, cocaine freebase kits and crack pipes. Distributors indicted yesterday also allegedly marketed items to drug dealers, including scales and substances used to dilute raw narcotics, as well as products intended to defeat drug tests. If convicted, they face three years in prison and forfeiture of property and proceeds from the sales.Organizations that favor drug legalization criticized the crackdown on an industry that has not faced broad legal challenge in recent years. "These paraphernalia laws exist in no other advanced democracy," said Ethan Nadelmann, founder of the Drug Policy Alliance, which promotes alternatives to the war on drugs. "There is no evidence that these laws have any impact on reducing drug use whatsoever." Source: Washington Post (DC)Author: Susan Schmidt, Washington Post Staff WriterPublished: Tuesday, February 25, 2003; Page A07 Copyright: 2003 Washington Post Contact: letterstoed washpost.comWebsite: Related Articles & Web Site:Drug Policy Alliance Weed Out Drug Paraphernalia Sites Says It Has Cut Off Supplies of Paraphernalia Crack Down on Drug Paraphernalia
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Comment #1 posted by Ethan Russo MD on February 25, 2003 at 06:36:39 PT:
Another View
I would urge everyone to read the article at this previously suggested link: on therapeutic cannabis in the UK are refreshingly different, as is the attitude of the government.It would be hard for them to ban chocolate!
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