Pipe Makers Lie Low 

Pipe Makers Lie Low 
Posted by CN Staff on March 09, 2003 at 13:51:37 PT
By Sherri Buri McDonald, The Register-Guard
Source: Register-Guard
Lane County's long-thriving community of pipe-making glass workers is in fear and disarray following last month's federal crackdown on online sales of drug paraphernalia.Federal agents arrested Eugene glass artists Saeed Mohtadi and Jason Harris, president of Jerome Baker Designs Inc., which sold a line of colorful glass bongs and other pipes that can be used for smoking tobacco - or marijuana.
People who supplied materials to Jerome Baker Designs, or blew glass for the company, estimate that at least 50 full-time workers lost their jobs with the shutdown of the business. They say hundreds of other local pipe makers are out of work because distributors and retailers they supplied nationwide have closed or have stopped buying inventory for fear of arrest.Misha Gieseler, co-owner of Eugene Rain, a Springfield pipe-making business, said 12 of the stores she supplied pipes to nationwide were visited by federal agents; eight store owners were charged and four stores shut down.Gieseler, 28, said she and her husband, Matt, have made a living blowing glass pipes for the past six years. Their combined annual income from the pipe business averages $30,000 to $40,000, Gieseler said, adding that they pay income taxes each year.Gieseler said she hasn't made any pipes since last week's sweep."Here I am scared to make pipes, and that's how I make my living," she said. "It's not worth going to jail over it, but I do have two kids to feed." The Gieselers have a 4-year-old and an 18-month-old."We've got car payments and a house payment, and all of a sudden there's a stop of income," she said.Gieseler said she's not sure what she'll do to replace the income. "We're resorting to making glass dildos - I can't even say the word it's so embarrassing," she said. "I've never wanted to go that route."Other glass makers say they'll find other ways to sell pipes."I'm just going to blow as much glass as I can and sell them on the street if I have to; I still have to feed my family," said Mikael Thomas, 34, of Eugene, who has blown glass for about five years.He said he makes wine glasses, marbles, beads, art objects and pipes. By far the biggest sellers are pipes."I have a piece in about every head shop in town," he said.The federal action also is affecting sales at local shops that supply products related to glass blowing.Craig Hamilton, owner of Phoenix Glass and a glass blower for the past eight years, said his supply sales have plunged since last week.Along with selling borosilicate, Pyrex, glass and glass-blowing tools, Hamilton's store had a display case with 100 to 200 pipes, worth about $2,000 to $3,000. He made some himself, but most he accepted in trade from pipe makers in exchange for materials.Hamilton said he cleared out the case on the day of the crackdown and is keeping the pipes in storage until he knows whether he can safely resume selling them.Hamilton has sold the pipes as tobacco-related accessories and he said he always checks customers' identification to make sure they are at least 18, as required by state law."I've got thousands of dollars' worth of pipes, but I don't want them confiscated," Hamilton said.The pipe-making industry is big because there's big demand, Hamilton said. "People can make perfume bottles and jewelry, but they're just not as sellable," he said.Most glass pipes are the quintessential low-price, high-volume product. They generally wholesale for $5 to $20 and can retail for double or triple that, glass blowers said.Jerome Baker Designs offered more elaborate and expensive pipes. The business recorded $2.2 million in sales in 1999, according to a search warrant affidavit filed by the Drug Enforcement Administration. A DEA agent ordered several pipes and bongs from the company, ranging from $95 to $230 apiece, according to the affidavit. The federal arrests were the latest in a history of drives to stamp out drug paraphernalia. But some call it a minor setback."They slap some hands and they say, 'Kids ... ' then business goes on as usual," said a glass studio owner who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal."It's not like you can take out an industry by taking out a few figureheads," he said. "Other people will pop up to fill their place. There's the same demand as there was before, with millions of dollars less of supply."Kyle Thompson, a Eugene glass blower who makes marbles, vases, jewelry, paperweights and pipes, said his orders for pipes have increased since last week."It appears that they were targeting the big shops that were effective at marketing," he said. "It's going to be really hard for the government to stop all the small operations."Eugene has an international reputation for glass blowing. There are an estimated 700 to 1,200 glass blowers in Lane County, said George Kjaer, president of the board of the Eugene Glass School, which was founded in 1999. That figure includes hobbyists making beads or marbles in their garage, as well as people who earn a living making pipes.The industry's roots in Eugene date to the early 1970s when followers of the Grateful Dead figured they could make money selling blown glass bongs and pipes, as well as decorative glass, at Grateful Dead concerts and similar venues, Kjaer said.From the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, several glass teachers lived in Eugene and shared their knowledge, attracting more glass blowers to town, Kjaer said.In 1995, several entrepreneurs set up factories, employing 10 to 20 people each, to mass produce bong parts, he said.For years, Eugene's reputation for glass was linked primarily to bongs and pipes, Kjaer said. But the Eugene Glass School aims to change that. Each year about 100 students take workshops at the school from established artists from around the world. An upcoming workshop will focus on utilitarian objects, such as cups, glasses, coffeepots, jewelry, paperweights and fountain pens.Complete Title: Pipe Makers Lie Low in City Known for Glass BlowingSource: Register-Guard, The (OR)Author:  Sherri Buri McDonald, The Register-GuardPublished: March 9, 2003Copyright: 2003 The Register-GuardContact: rgletters guardnet.comWebsite: Articles:Glass Artists' Arrests Stoke 'Culture War' Americans From The Bong Threat Pipe Dreams Is a Nightmare
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Comment #7 posted by afterburner on March 10, 2003 at 10:51:24 PT:
Alcohol vs. Cannabis, a Big Money Battle.
Loretta Nall said her views on marijuana were shaped, in part, by her brother's experience. An alcoholic, Randy Sapp, 35, has been in and out of jail for alcohol-fueled crimes. "For work release, they put him to loading Budweiser trucks," Nall said. That didn't work out so well. Sapp, back home in Ashland, is frank about his addictions. "If marijuana was legal, I would never pick up another drop of alcohol," he said. -from the snipped off part of the posted article in comment #6: "Marijuana Advocate Vocal After Arrest"I know several alcoholics who would benefit from liberated cannabis, so that they would have a heathier alternative to the alcohol that is harming their lives. How many more must die?ego destruction or ego transcendence, that is the question.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on March 10, 2003 at 07:40:54 PT
News Article from Snipped Source - Loretta Nall
Marijuana Advocate Vocal After Arrest She denies having substance at her home Published: March 10, 2003 Loretta Lynn Nall is an unlikely political activist. With her at-home candle business, Stevie Nicks hairdo, and kitchen-table computer, the mother of two is truly grassroots, especially the grass part. Snipped:Complete Article:
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 09, 2003 at 20:23:35 PT
Thank you for posting the article.
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Comment #4 posted by 312 on March 09, 2003 at 20:15:23 PT
Recent UK bong shop story
An interesting comparison for you folks in the US being rescued from the terrible bong threat.
Please post - I don't think this tabloid paper publishes online (I found this story at 10 2003The Western Mail - The National Newspaper Of WalesPOLICE have admitted they are powerless to close a "sex and drugs" shop next door to the office of Welsh Secretary Peter Hain.Cabinet Minister Peter Hain was fuming when the Amsterdam-style drugs and sex shop began trading on his doorstep four months ago.Police and trading standards officers investigated the Little Amsterdam store in Neath and found the owner is not breaking any laws.Pc Neil Morgans has told council leaders that police cannot close the shop, which is next door to Mr Hain's constituency HQ.He said, "There are no police issues because the cannabis and hemp being sold is only in seed. It is not an offence to sell that, only to cultivate it."Anything to do with the sexual side of it is legislated by the council. We do not have any input."Owner Piet Manca sells packets of cannabis seeds, amyl nitrate poppers, water pipes and a variety of adult videos in the shop.But Constable Morgans said everything Mr Manca was doing was above board. He said, "There is nothing that he is doing that is committing an offence."Mr Hain, Labour MP for Neath and Secretary of State for Wales, was convinced the shop was breaching planning laws because neighbours weren't consulted.But he has now been told there is nothing anyone can do, and he will have to live with it.His agent, Howard Davies, said the MP is unhappy, but he will continue to hold meetings next door.Mr Davies said, "The council planning department has informed us there has been no breach of planning laws so there's nothing they can do about it."Peter isn't happy about the situation. Other people in the town don't like the shop either and have been complaining about it."We are having to live with it, but it's a big concern. From our point of view, this kind of shop isn't acceptable here or anywhere in the constituency."The Neath Chamber of Trade has also objected to Little Amsterdam saying they never expected such a business to open in the town.But council head of planning Geoff White said, "The premises have planning permission for a cafe but can be used as a shop under planning laws. There has been no breach."Neath Councillor Sheila Penry said, "This man knows the law and he is working within the law."We cannot touch him. He knows the laws as well as any solicitor or barrister."Shop owner Mr Manca said, "Our's is a legitimate business, but we have had a lot of raised eyebrows since we opened."But people are pouring through the doors for our goods."
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Comment #3 posted by virgil on March 09, 2003 at 20:09:13 PT
Two plants law is too much for Australia,4057,6103214%255E13569,00.htmlBid to tighten drug laws
March 10, 2003The Territory's tough drug laws will be revamped in August, the Government revealed last night.A spokeswoman for Justice Minister Peter Toyne said the drug laws would be reviewed in August. She said police would dictate to the Government what changes they wanted to the laws. The Government was responding to a Northern Territory News report on how cannabis growers are using the law to produce drugs worth thousands of dollars without fear of court conviction. Growing cannabis is still illegal in the Territory. But having up to two plants may attract only a $200 fine. Possessing up to 50g of cannabis is also punishable by a drug infringement notice. Research carried out in South Australia shows a single hydroponically grown plant can produce dried cannabis with a market value of about $4000. The Territory's drug squad warned last week that growers were exploiting loopholes in current laws. "The quantity of useable cannabis that can be harvested from two hydroponically grown plants is far in excess of what is deemed as personal use," drug squad head, Senior Sergeant Les Martin said. The Territory government last night ruled out immediately tightening the hydroponic loophole -- saying the existing drug house laws were enough. "If they are found to be supplying that's what they'll be charged with," the spokeswoman said. "Those new laws target traffickers, dealers and suppliers. "The drug house laws are working." South Australia has already moved to cut off the hydroponic loophole. In January this year new laws were introduced so that anyone caught growing even one cannabis plant hydroponically will face court instead of an on-the-spot fine. SA Attorney-General Michael Atkinson said cannabis growers were now "on notice". SA police spokesman Detective Chief Superintendent Denis Edmonds said: "There is ample evidence to suggest there are groups of people using hydroponics systems to produce commercial cannabis crops." Northern Territory News
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 09, 2003 at 19:30:03 PT
Thanks Virgil
I knew there was a US Marijuana Party but I didn't know about all the different states. I wondered who are the organizers? 
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Comment #1 posted by Virgil on March 09, 2003 at 19:10:31 PT
Why didn't someone tell me?
There are 17 marijuana parties in different states. The US Marijuana Party list them on the left side of this page- is talk of a Wisconsin and RI Marijuana Party in this thread at 
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