US Opens New Front in Decades Old Conflict 

US Opens New Front in Decades Old Conflict 
Posted by CN Staff on February 26, 2003 at 08:22:19 PT
By Michael Hess
Source: BBSNews
The war against citizens use of marijuana intensified Monday when 55 people across the United States were arrested by federal prohibition agents for selling bongs, pipes and other "paraphernalia" alleged to be used by America's marijuana consumers. Monday's CNN nightly headline news channel in the US closed many of their evening show news blocks with cuts from rapper Eminem's latest album. America's mixed messages continue.
It all started 21 months prior to 9/11/2001 in January 2000, in Southern Iowa. Thirteen months before Zacarias Moussaoui, believed to be the twentieth highjacker, arrived in the United States hellbent on killing thousands of innocent Americans along with nineteen others who were chillingly successful because of misplaced priorities on the part of US law enforcement and federal officials. According to a US Department of Justice press release Monday about this obvious waste of precious law enforcement resources, "Operation Headhunter" began more than three years ago: "The DEA resident office in Des Moines, Iowa, initiated an investigation into the sale and distribution of drug paraphernalia at headshops in Southern Iowa in January 2000. Federal search warrants executed at four such businesses in Iowa resulted in the seizure of more than $2 million in drug paraphernalia. The searches also implicated various national distributors, including four companies indicted today." It is simply unbelievable, in this day and age of the inevitable war in Iraq; terrorism warnings, duct tape and plastic sheeting, that this mis-direction of law enforcement should spend more than three years, with 9/11 nearly in the middle of this nefarious timeline, on destroying a niche cottage industry in America that is harming no one. Attorney General Ashcroft, I am quite capable of steering my children and grandchildren away from hate filled Nazi Web sites, porn Web sites, and other adult Web venues. I would not presume to call on you to shut down the Aryan Nation Web site because of clear First Amendment considerations. I cannot for the life of my family and myself understand why you feel a need to destroy peoples lives and businesses because of an archaic and hugely failed cannabis law and policy while our nation is under so many real threats. This is the kind of government operation that can make even the little old ladies in Pasadena take pause and wonder what on Earth can the government be thinking? The release continues: "Those who sell drug paraphernalia are not only violating federal law, they are supporting a culture of illegal drug use. Drug users, in turn, by creating demand for heroin, cocaine and marijuana, and other illicit substances, are responsible for the violence and huge profits which accompany drug dealing in our cities and communities," said U.S. Attorney Buchanan." This line of thinking completely flies in the face of ubiquitous reality. And the DOJ's own literature. Tobacco cigarettes contain one of the most contentious and clearly addictive substances known to humankind. Nicotine. "Pipes" can be used to smoke tobacco, there are many and varying forms of tobacco which deliver the addictive substance nicotine, former FDA head David Kessler termed cigarettes as "drug delivery devices." In addition to tens of millions of US tobacco users there are an estimated 100,000 to 430,000 annual deaths attributed to tobacco consumption. I believe it would be very hard to find a doctor in the United States who wouldn't state authoritatively that tobacco use can lead to a deadly addiction. Contrast this with zero deaths attributed to the use of marijuana. A credible death from cannabis's entire 5000 year history of use is extremely hard to find. Where is the violence in the tobacco distribution market? How about alcohol? Are beer distributors shooting it out on the street with innocent people getting killed in the crossfire? Nine years ago this month the DOJ knew that any violence associated with illegal drug use was primarily because of distribution in a totally un-regulated black market with no legal dispute resolution: "Illegal drugs and violence are linked primarily through drug marketing: disputes among rival distributors, arguments and robberies involving buyers and sellers, property crimes committed to raise drug money and, more speculatively, social and economic interactions between the illegal markets and the surrounding communities." Violence is introduced because of the artificially created black market for just some drugs. The two most dangerous, tobacco and alcohol, are largely legal for adults. With the exception of alcohol, there is little evidence that violent behavior is caused by consuming currently illicit drugs. The same DOJ report also says, "Of all psychoactive substances, alcohol is the only one whose consumption has been shown to commonly increase aggression. After large doses of amphetamines, cocaine, LSD, and PCP, certain individuals may experience violent outbursts, probably because of preexisting psychosis. Research is needed on the pharmacological effects of crack, which enters the brain more directly than cocaine used in other forms. Alcohol drinking and violence are linked through pharmacological effects on behavior, through expectations that heavy drinking and violence go together in certain settings, and through patterns of binge drinking and fighting that sometimes develop in adolescence." American history teaches us that violence accompanies prohibitions. Alcohol Prohibition bred Al Capone. Prohibition Two, the sequel, bred figures such as Pablo Escobar. John P. Walters said in the release, "Today's actions send a clear and unambiguous message to those who would poison our children: We will bring you to justice, and we will act decisively to protect our young people from the harms of illegal drugs. I applaud the hard work of the Justice Department, the U.S. Attorneys, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, who have provided an important and welcome boost to our drug prevention efforts, and reaffirm the truth that no community, no city, no state, and no nation is better off with more drug use." Meanwhile, CASA released on Tuesday corrected alcohol use rate figures to be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association: "Researchers at Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse analyzed three sets of data from 1999 and said underage drinking amounted to 19.7 percent of alcohol consumed that year, or $22.5 billion." One must assume that beer bongs, beer hats, beer advertising at sporting events and on TV, ladies night and all the rest of the paraphernalia that accompanies alcohol use will be next on the list? In the interest of keeping "poison" out of the hands of children? No more Super Bowl beer ads to detract from the official anti-drug message? Won't Walters bring tobacco and alcohol companies to justice? Surely if recreational drugs are morally wrong and unhealthful as well shouldn't they all be prohibited? Continuing from the Justice Department release, John Brown, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration said: "People selling drug paraphernalia are in essence no different than drug dealers," They are as much a part of drug trafficking, as silencers are a part of criminal homicide. These criminals operate a multimillion-dollar enterprise, selling their paraphernalia in headshops, distributing out of huge warehouses, and using the worldwide web as a worldwide paraphernalia market. With Operations Pipe Dreams and Headhunter these criminals are out of business, and 11 illicit dot.coms are dot.gone." Yet yesterday, the nations top anti-tobacco activist groups called for the United States to pull out of the World Health Organization treaty talks on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. A coalition of groups called on the US to stop sabatoging the treaty, CBS News reported, "At this critical juncture, the United States government is working methodically to weaken virtually every aspect of this treaty," said John Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society. "We call on the U.S. government to observe the first rule of the Hippocratic Oath: Do No Harm." And another coalition representative Alfred Munzer, from the American Lung Association said "I am ashamed of the role my government has played in the negotiations." Since the WHO sponsored negotiations began in October 1999, "more than 13.3 million people have died of cancer, heart disease and other smoking related ailments." BBSNews can find no record of deaths attributed to marijuana use during this same period. Will the Bush administration call for bans on tobacco advertising, graphic labels of health consequences and the elimination of the terms "mild" and "light" from tobacco products that the WHO sponsored treaty is calling for? Will tobacco paraphernalia be outlawed? When can we expect to see internet sales of tobacco and alcohol to be banned? And those dot.coms "dot.gone?" If 13 million people died from smoking related illness worldwide since October 1999 and yet there is no Tobacco Prohibition surely that points up a fundamental flaw in the war on drugs? This is the reason that drug policy reformers call it the "War on Some Drugs." The two examples above clearly illustrate that there is a severe disparity in the way the nation looks at drug use or abuse. Policy makers need to understand that America loves her drugs, especially alcohol. The CASA report cited above clearly states that monthly drinks of alcohol are measured in billions, "the total number of drinks consumed was 4.21 billion per month. Individuals aged 12 to 20 years consumed 19.7% (830.6 million drinks per month) of all the alcohol consumed in the United States; those aged 21 years or older drank 80.3% (3.38 billion drinks per month)." US policy makers are afraid to confront the obvious truth, legal distinctions do not determine the pharmacology of a given drug. Nor its popularity. And Brown's comments lead me to wonder that if the sellers of bongs and pipes are akin to silencers being "a part of criminal homicide" where does this leave bartenders? Or the tobacco seller? Using US governmental logic, are they to now be considered as accessories to drunken driving, alcoholism and the aggression that the DOJ reported above? Will they be liable for selling addictive cancer causing products such as tobacco cigarettes? Are they next on the trial lawyers quest, suing the beer company that produced the beer which caused Joe American to beat up his wife or kids? This action on the part of the government points up just how much of a wasteful boondoggle this effort really is. A search on Google turned up 243,000 hits for the term "bongs." Scrolling just through the first seven pages of results it looks like there is no shortage of Websites that sell, or describe plans for, or have pictures of bongs. A key fact to remember is that this operation began in January 2000. A three year period to close down eleven Websites. It is unclear how much this effort cost in terms of manpower hours and money diverted away from actual security issues. This is clearly an unproductive use of law enforcement resources, putting the squeeze on a minority of the drug using population and trumpeting success is made ludicrous and a laughingstock by a search on any major internet search engine. And just as so many government operations to legislate morality so often do, they spur un-intended consequences. Already there is a huge and nostalgic effort on the internet to recount the many ways over the years that people have devised to consume marijuana. There will certainly be no shortage of stories. Since 1975, one out of every two twelfth graders has tried marijuana. CNN Crossfire host Tucker Carlson said it best last evening: "You'd think that fighting global terrorism, not to mention run of the mill bank robberies, kidnappings and interstate murder sprees would be enough to keep the Department of Justice busy. You might think that, but you would be wrong." "The Department of Justice this week announced its latest of the crackdown on rolling papers. Operation Pipe Dreams is aimed at what the Department melodramatically describes as -- quote -- illegal drug paraphernalia industries. In other words, bong salesmen, roach clip dealers, head shops. A recent DOJ press release boasts that 27 people have been indicted in a major sting. No drugs at all were seized, though government agents did net several hash pipes and large amounts of salty snack foods." "Keep in mind, this is not a joke except that it is. Here's some advice for the crime busters of the Justice Department: put down the rolling papers, go find some terrorists." Complete Title: Even More War: US Opens New Front in Decades Old Conflict Source: BBSNews (NC) Author: Michael HessPublished: February 26, 2003 Copyright 1990-2003 Michael HessContact: michael Website: Articles:Head Shops Remain Open After Taking Hit Hauls in Dealers of Bongs, Roach Clips Traffickers Out of Business
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Comment #7 posted by delariand on February 26, 2003 at 11:50:12 PT
noticed something
"The war against citizens..."I love how that was worded, it has to be intentional :D
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Comment #6 posted by druid on February 26, 2003 at 11:03:34 PT
police don't like pro-pot peeps on their bbs
Taken from the message boards at
his was a reply by a police message board admin to the results of overgrowers spamming their message board!!!! LMAO
"I have gotten TONS of email and IM's about the sudden convergence of the potheads on our forums...and they will be dealt with ASAP I'm not ignoring you nor is Jason and I just don't have time to answer each IM and email individually.Please, for the time being, put them on your ignore list or simply do not respond to them. They do NOT represent RealPolice in any aspect and I hope the newbies signing up realize this.I'm sorry I cant respond to each email but Jason and I are both aware of their presence and we will be rectifying the problem shortly"
The Pig's message board is: we must continue the message to dismantle their fascist antitruths!!
These are not my(druids) words. These were just taken off a message board.
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Comment #5 posted by fearfull on February 26, 2003 at 10:41:20 PT
Well you say you want a revolution.....
nuff said
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on February 26, 2003 at 10:39:26 PT
I had to look and look until I found it. You have never said anything offensive at all. That's ok and please don't give it a second thought.
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Comment #3 posted by druid on February 26, 2003 at 10:30:52 PT
Sorry for the cuss word in my preceding comment! Sometimes I just get so worked up typing a million words per minute that I type before I think. Sorry if I offended anyone.
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Comment #2 posted by druid on February 26, 2003 at 10:29:11 PT
I had a talk with one of the managers of a local headshop that got busted. He was arrained(sp) in court yesterday on 3 counts. His trial is set for april. They claim that they have him on audio and video saying and doing things that he shouldn't to undercover agents. He says he can't wait to see what they have against him cos he knows he has never broken the rules of the headshop.I have seen the people who run these stores in my area kick people out of the store for saying just 1 wrong word while in the store. The local cops always sent undercover agents in to "test" them and they always passed. We had 3 headshops here and now they are gone. One of them has been here for over 30 years and is a cultural icon of the community. Just last week the local paper did a write up on them and how they are such a welcome part of the city. The shitty thing is that the owner of the place just died last week and his son took over and was deciding whether or not to keep the business open. Now the son just lost his father and is now facing 3 years in prison plus a 250,000 fine.This is a college town and these 3 headshops sold a lot more than just pipes and stuff. They sold unique and unusual gifts, lots of imports, hemp clothing, insence, magazines, posters, lava lamps. The campus community kept these stores in business. One of the stores that got busted wasn't even going to sell tobacco accessories anymore. They hadn't re-upped their inventory on pipes and stuff for a few months and were getting out of that part of the business. They were just trying to get rid of their inventory on hand. They actually didn't have much of an inventory of "illegal" items at all when they were busted.
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Comment #1 posted by John Tyler on February 26, 2003 at 09:29:21 PT
Feds priorities not in order
The Feds spent 3 years on this paraphernalia investigation to find some headshops and close a few domestic web sites, bust 55 otherwise law abiding people, and confiscate a bunch of inventory. What a total waste of time, effort, and resources. What is it with the Feds? They discredit themselves at every chance they get. The Feds should go after real, hard to find criminals, like bank robbers, terrorist, etc. It seems like the Feds are the ones that are "drug crazed".
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