On the Role of Government: Wasted on Pipe Dreams 

On the Role of Government: Wasted on Pipe Dreams 
Posted by CN Staff on March 05, 2003 at 09:39:19 PT
By Mikki Norris
Source: San Francisco Chronicle 
As we prepare to go to war with Iraq and continue fighting terrorism at home, it is appalling that the federal Drug Enforcement Administration has chosen to step up the attacks on businesspeople by going after pipe- and bong- makers and sellers ("U.S. raids firms selling items used by pot smokers," Feb. 25). Where are the government's priorities? Let's waste some more resources on "Operation Pipe Dreams"!
The message the DEA and Office of National Drug Control Policy send by going after "paraphernalia" (pipe) sellers is that the drug warriors have too much time on their hands and too much money to spend. This latest move is another misguided action stemming from their policy to demonize cannabis consumers, and it shows just how intellectually and morally bankrupt they are. The drug warriors raided last week all of the "easy" targets, including three individuals from the Bay Area as well as Chong Glass of Los Angeles, owned by actor-comedian Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong fame. But makers and sellers of artistic glass pipes and bongs are not the enemy. Our country is on heightened terror alert status as we head toward a foreign war that could bring even more serious repercussions to our shores. How appropriate is it to use law enforcement officers to seek out these artists, craftspeople and business entrepreneurs? Not at all! It is difficult to decipher the DEA's muddled thinking: "Hey, there are some people using medical marijuana legally under state law! We better go after the sick and, oh, yeah, imprison all their cannabis providers! And take their pipes, too, so they can't take their medicine. Our national security depends on it." "Drug Czar" John Walters is living in his own dazed delusions. He is so blinded by his mission to scapegoat marijuana users for society's ills that he cannot see that marijuana prohibition and the need to get tough on the smoking utensils is a frivolous waste of our tax dollars and law-enforcement resources. Mikki Norris is director of Cannabis Consumers Campaign -- -- which attempts to give an accurate image of people who use marijuana. She is co-author of "Shattered Lives: Portraits from America's Drug War" (Creative Xpressions, 2000). Snipped: Complete Article: Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)Author: Mikki NorrisPublished: Wednesday, March 5, 2003 Copyright: 2003 San Francisco Chronicle - Page A - 25 Contact: letters sfchronicle.comWebsite: Articles:In Twist, Feds Grab Internet Domain Names Powers Move Into Your Browser Weed Out Drug Paraphernalia Sites 55 Charged in Drug Paraphernalia Sales 
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Comment #5 posted by paulpeterson on March 05, 2003 at 21:48:16 PT
Mary Jane Freedom
Good thought about the federallies' motives ie: get after the producers and distributors and thus "look" like zero tolerance, but let the actual smokers alone.That is, in actuality, what they are doing, but not with so altruistic motives: you see, the federal government knows, very well, that they MUST HAVE SOME COMMERCE CLAUSE POWERS to send their shock troops out with good result (hey, I don't think this is a "good result", only they seem to, that is). You see, when a state allows people the right to possess marijuana for medical usage, the federal government has NO CLAIM OF ILLEGAL USAGE LEFT! But when a person is busted for distribution, at least they can argue some "commerce" that supposedly confers jurisdiction.A good case in point was that in September, 2001, right around that 911 thingy, I contacted my local DOJ office in Chicago and spoke with the nicest attorney (Nancy Needles, that is) and after I told her about the Illinois MM law and gave her the cite for same, I also informed her of the concept of a "valid prosecutorial discretion policy" like what the Washington state DOJ issued a few years ago, professing there to not bust people that held less than a 6 month supply of pot for valid medicinal usage ie: they had decided to concentrate resources on the "distributors" of same, etc. At the end of the conversation this attorney in Chicago stated that they won't bust for mere "possession" of marijuana unless there was an inordinant amount, like a thousand pounds or so (she refused to give me the threshhold, of course). She also refused to issue a letter form of their new "policy" (and I made sure to real quick and pronto send her a letter confirming this policy!).She also told me if I had mail fraud charges to bring against the lawyer police (which I have clear proof of, of course)I should go the local FBI (which I gosh awful did, and fast, too!). Of course, the FBI didn't want to take down an agency of the Illinois Supreme Court, so it seems that since I have this mail fraud stuff against them, and I have alleged valid medical usage of same, I've got a stalemate (without an ability to practice law for the past year or so, which really blows, of course).So, yes, I've been testing this theory for the past year or so also, that it seems the only persons targetted are those that clearly are involved in distribution (ie: commercial sales, etc., including the bongers & such).Therefore, it is my opinion that the states, like Oregon, that encourage people to grow their own (in adequately small quantities, of course) rather than to work to "distribute" (like California, of course) have largely been able to avoid the aggressive prosecution of the citizenry, true to form, except for the BONG SALESMEN, with BONGO ASHCROFT in hot pursuit, that is.Of course, since it is tremendously ambiguous to charge someone with "illegal sales" of an item that can be easily used to smoke tobacco, etc., this sort of campaign will be destined to fail in the courts, since the DUE PROCESS clause requires that the law be sufficiently clear so the person knows what is proscribed and what is not! (That is, if the courts are not wiped out in total in some "efficiency" campaign, announced on your local newsstation during prime time hours with the entroit "MY FELLO AMARICANS" you know the voice, with a twangy Dallas twang, due to the serious threats on our borders from all sides (you know, East coast-all of Europe, Northern command, those bad ass bongers up north, South-why even Mexico seems to have legalization fever, West coast, now that the whole Western front has lit up with freedom fever), to stop terrorism we have abolished the rule of law, by courts, since we just can't be secure in our beds with a single bong left behind!"He's got prison fever, probably since Bush hasn't touched a bong in over 10 years, maybe longer, eh? Let's just hope the bouncing bush babies can keep daddy from stealing their bongs, eh?Oh well, I'm done now. PAUL PETERSON
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Comment #4 posted by MaryJaneFreedom on March 05, 2003 at 12:31:43 PT
This is one idea...
I have come to the conclusion that the federal government realizes that preventing people from using marijuana is nearly impossible, and that it shouldn't focus man power on such inforcement.As always, they say they are completely against drug use, and allowing drug use, however they latest steps the government has taken has shown a willingness to not worry about marijuana users.It is my opinion that the government is doing everything in it's power to make it "look like" they are still tough on drugs and drug use, but behind the scene, they're switching focus from drugs to terror.Honestly, anyone can agree that terrorists, people who what to kill every American possible, are much more of a danger than people who sit in their basements and smoke a little marijuana to get high. A child can understand this, stop people from hurting others, or stop people from hurting themselves? And I would even contend that using marijuana responsibly isn't dangerous or harmful. It's the law enforcement that makes it harmful! 
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Comment #3 posted by neophase on March 05, 2003 at 10:55:00 PT
Waste of taxes here!
Even though I live in Canada, this news shocks me out of my eyes completely!Arresting people for making bongs/pipes is WRONG!!!Again, the US is lacking intelligence and thus, WASTING YOUR TAXES!!! Don't forget all, it's your taxes going towards all them government agencies these days such as the DEA, FBI, etc.Canada on the other hand, all we need to do is through out the liberal government (I'd recommend the green party or marijuana party! NDP screwed us over in the past too. They say the liberal government now = the socrates [mispelled]). I'd say we give a chance to the green party, if that fails, go back to the NDP see if they changed, if not them, than the liberals. Go in loops until we truly find one that serves us correctly!Pipes though, such a sad story. They aren't even a illegal substance and can't harm anyone in any way.
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Comment #2 posted by druid on March 05, 2003 at 10:50:22 PT
Ed Rosenthal authored a petition that can be found at is the text of the petition:
To: U.S. CongressI feel that operation PIPEDREAMS, conducted by the US GOVERNMENT should be stopped. Operation PIPEDREAMS unlawfully shutdown companies which sold Tobacco Products. These companies were not only allowed to sell Tobacco Products, they were given business licenses to do so.The US GOVERNMENT let an entire industry build and suddenly shutdown the industry leaders, taking millions of dollars without any type of warning. This is unlawful. I feel the people behind operation PIPEDREAMS should stand trail for this unlawful act upon our country and it's economy. I also feel operation PIPEDREAMS should be shutdown immediately.Sincerely,The Undersigned Come on people! Sign the petition!
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Comment #1 posted by PonziScheme on March 05, 2003 at 10:00:11 PT
Way to go Mikki!
Great article! If you haven't already, everyone should pick up a copy of "Shattered Lives." Or two; donate one to your local public library.
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