Head Shop Crackdown Smokes Out The Little Guy

Head Shop Crackdown Smokes Out The Little Guy
Posted by CN Staff on February 27, 2003 at 22:16:49 PT
By Mike Seate, Tribune-Review
Source: Tribune Review 
"I believe in the near future, the government will use anti-drug hysteria to set up a police state"  author William S. Burroughs, 1947. Shoppers on the city's trendy South Side can still, if they wish, drop into a store and buy drug paraphernalia. Inventive stoners can head to the produce aisle at the Wharton Square Giant Eagle supermarket and buy an apple or a carrot, both of which can be hollowed out for pot smoking. Or they could try the sundries aisle where there's all sorts of emergency smoking supplies - from empty toilet paper rolls to aluminum foil. 
Fine wooden and mock-ivory pipes for tobacco smokers are also available at Bloom's Cigar Store over on 12th Street. But consumers can't buy anything specifically designed for drug use. Not after Monday's raid by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, that is. Federal agents swooped down on several western Pennsylvania boutiques and so-called "head shops," arresting 55 people for selling what local U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan described as items "no one would possibly use for smoking tobacco." For the crime of helping people smoke tobacco substitutes, the federal government could fine the owners of these small businesses up to $250,000 each and put them away in a federal penitentiary for three years with rapists, murderers and people scary enough to creep out a Bosnian war criminal. If that sounds a bit harsh for selling wooden pipes, metal alligator clips and plastic baggies  items readily available in numerous office-supply stores and "legitimate" smoke and cigar shops  you ain't just whistlin' "Working on the Chain Gang." For a comparison of just how heavy-handed these sentencing guidelines are, consider the following: any of the 55 defendants could end up serving more time than those convicted of manslaughter, burglary, even rape. Criminals convicted of assault do an average of 30 months; rape, 36 months; murder, 40 months, according to 2001 figures from the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Drug offenders serve an average of 48 months in Pennsylvania. But time is not the only item Washington's goon squad is looking to steal from these folks. They all risk the forfeiture of their cars, homes and businesses under the current statutes, which, on the surface, seem like something dreamed up by Joe Stalin during one of his weekend getaways with Idi Amin. Defendant Randy Prezkopf, owner of Slacker, an alternative lifestyles boutique on the South Side's Carson Street, was among those rounded up on Monday. He's been scrambling to find an attorney and making potential plans for his incarceration. He's unsure just what items in his funky, well-lit shop caused the feds to target Slacker, but one item has come up missing. "It was a book on how to grow marijuana. I thought books were protected by the Constitution," he said. There was a time when the rights of average citizens such as Prezkopf, even ones who sold pot pipes and weird books, thought they, too, were protected by the Constitution. Apparently, those days are gone. The drug agencies will inevitably roll out the same old tired bromides about locking people up to protect the children from the ravages of drugs, without considering how many children will go parentless for a few years. And Prezkopf, along with 54 of his fellow Pennsylvanians, may find himself protecting his back in a federal prison. That's the biggest crime of all. Mike Seate is a staff writer for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Source: Tribune Review (PA)Author: Mike Seate, Tribune-ReviewPublished: Friday, February 28, 2003 Copyright: 2003 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.Contact: letters tribune-review.comWebsite: Articles:Saving Americans From The Bong Threat Pipe Dreams Is a Nightmare -- Paraphernalia Archives 
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Comment #13 posted by greek_philosophizer on March 01, 2003 at 06:11:00 PT:
easy pipes and incarceration 
If you want a pipe you can go to a plumbing supply 
place and get whatever parts you need
to make a great metal pipe.If you want a glass pipe you can go
to a scientific supply house and 
get pyrex stuff for pipes.The real purpose of this law is to
stomp out all visible counter-cultural
signs.The incarceration numbers in the
article were amazing too. 40 months
for murder! I just spent the last
6.1 years ( so far ) getting poisoned
by the pedomob in the DC area. Thats way more
than 40 months and I am harmless. My big fat evil greedy jealous Greek 
family. Don't buy that Greek hype.( Sorry about getting off topic ).
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Comment #12 posted by Robbie on March 01, 2003 at 01:38:25 PT
crucifixion of the capitalists
Obviously Ashcroft et al can't be satisfied with making war on marijuana patients. Now it's time to pay back the core Republican with a little vindictive slap because they're losing the public opinion on this subject as well.In a southern town on a Saturday night, the local pipe shop is a bustling business. There's obviously demand, and the "free market" is there to respond. Well, until Ashcroft arrests ya and confiscates your assets. Vive la capitalism! 
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Comment #11 posted by freedom fighter on February 28, 2003 at 22:42:30 PT
Of course
I rather smoke glass, I wondered if I could blow me a corncob glass pipe??ff
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Comment #10 posted by freedom fighter on February 28, 2003 at 22:30:50 PT
Why not just stop by
Walgreen store?Buy yourself some candies and head for the cashier, there you will see some wonderful corncob pipes right in front of you. Cost 4 bucks. (Used to be 25 cents)Supposed if one asked the cashier if anything will burn in the corncob pipe,,,,What would the Cashier say?I gotta get me a corncob pipe that will burn anything in it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ffPS)I actually stopped by the Walgreen store today, saw all those kind of pipes. Saw a Pipe that said there is no need to break the pipe in. It's ready to go! ;)
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Comment #9 posted by Nuevo Mexican on February 28, 2003 at 19:31:00 PT
Elk Antler was my favorite too!
As it fit right in the thumb/first finger and had a flat bottom to sit upright. Glass is superior, but that will always be my favorite too Sam!
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Comment #8 posted by Sam Adams on February 28, 2003 at 12:17:39 PT
Elk antler bowl
When I was younger I had a very cool elk antler pipe. We used to joke that if you smoked enough, you could listen carefully and hear the call of the bull elk!That was one of my favorite pipes ever. I dropped it through a grating in a parking garage and lost it......some lucky maintenance guy had a nice packed bowl waiting for him the next morning.....
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Comment #7 posted by TroutMask on February 28, 2003 at 08:07:14 PT
Personally, for pipes I avoid anything that will burn at smoking temperatures. That would include pretty much anything organic. IMHO, glass is ideal. But I have used wood, antlers and other organic materials in the past. The fact that the antler is "becoming soft" tells me that it may be combusting though I never noticed such things in my limited antler-smoking experiences.-TM
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Comment #6 posted by darwin on February 28, 2003 at 07:49:38 PT
How about antlers?
I used a deer antler and made my own. Is that a good material to use? Worked great, although the inside turned soft and hard to clean after a while. Smelled terrrible when I drilled it out!
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Comment #5 posted by TecHnoCult on February 28, 2003 at 07:24:43 PT
Thanks for the tips on wood TM.See, it's those kind of things right there that shutting down websites and destroying quality pipes leads to. I don't know how many people have risked going to prison just for running websites that provide good safety information on using drugs.Surely this latest obvious unconstitutional targeting of an American subculture is bound to catch some attention??? Surely at least one person in those 55 has a good Constititional challenge to this raid! I think even our conservative supreme court would recognize the lunacy!THC
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Comment #4 posted by greek_philosophizer on February 28, 2003 at 06:38:45 PT:
Its nice to see the local paper sticking up 
Its nice to see the local paper sticking up for 
the local populace in the drug war.That Burroughs quote was great.
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Comment #3 posted by TroutMask on February 28, 2003 at 06:35:31 PT
Don't Use Pine!
I guess I was in about 7th grade when I learned what a bad idea it is to use pine wood to make a pipe. Please don't use pine. It catches on fire very easily and burns too well, adding who-knows-what to the smoke. Not to mention you have to keep blowing it out when it catches on fire. If you're going to use wood, I suggest trying to use a hard wood. Don't use particle board or laminated woods (e.g., plywood) either as they are filled with gunk to hold the wood together.-end public service announcement--TM
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Comment #2 posted by Virgil on February 28, 2003 at 05:20:54 PT
Call for legalization in Scotland
UK: Sheridan urges legalisation of cannabis by Catherine Lyst The Herald, Glasgow Friday 28 Feb 2003CALLS by the Scottish Socialists to legalise cannabis and ban alcohol 
advertising yesterday came under attack from opposition parties and the 
whisky trade.Tommy Sheridan, the party leader, said the move would help fund drug 
rehabilitation services as well as saving NHS and police resources.The Glasgow MSP praised the move by David Blunkett, the home secretary, 
to reclassify cannabis from a class B to class C drug, but said it did 
not go far enough.Mr Sheridan insisted his party was not promoting drug use and promised 
that socialists would ban alcohol advertising.He urged MSPs to support his stance, despite a new report which 
identified growing numbers of young Scottish cannabis users as having 
"vanishing lung syndrome", a condition in which the lungs are gradually 
filled by huge cysts.Mr Sheridan said: "Cannabis is a harmful drug. Our argument is that it 
is no more harmful than tobacco or alcohol, but we don't criminalise 
those who smoke or drink. None of the cannabis research carried out over 
the past 50 years has been conclusive. Tobacco also affects the lungs 
but we don't stop people from smoking."Heroin is ripping our communities apart but 80% of all drug convictions 
are for possession of cannabis. The legalisation of cannabis is the only 
way to break the link with the drug dealers. Far too much police time is 
wasted in the pursuit of cannabis."The socialists' proposals follow a warning from the United Nations that 
Mr Blunkett's decision to reclassify cannabis would undermine worldwide 
efforts to fight the drug.Michael Matheson, SNP shadow justice minister, said yesterday: "To 
suggest we can fund NHS services such as drug rehabilitation through 
legalising cannabis is fanciful."David Williamson, of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: "The whisky 
trade employs 10,000 people in Scotland and 65,000 throughout the UK. To 
ban alcohol advertising would have a serious knock-on effect."The Portman Group, the alcohol industry body promoting sensible 
drinking, said a ban was unnecessary as advertising was already strictly 
regulated.Bill Aitken, the Tory deputy justice and home affairs spokesman, 
identified cannabis as a gateway drug to heroin use, but this was 
rejected by Scottish Drugs Forum as a myth.
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Comment #1 posted by Virgil on February 27, 2003 at 22:44:14 PT
Why not just make a wood pipe?
Does anyone not just take a scrap piece of wood and a drill and make one. I am all but suprised someone has not made dozens of them and left them all over the place. If a person would make rectangular blocks out of 3/4" white pine, it really would not be hard to make 1000 tomorrow.And as mentioned earlier, corncobs are readily available. You could punch a hole with a screwdriver or nail or clotheshanger and cut out a big hole with a knife. To think going after these businesspeople will reduce users of cannabis is an insanity all to itself.
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