Prosecutors Targeting Drug Paraphernalia, Obscenity

  Prosecutors Targeting Drug Paraphernalia, Obscenity

Posted by CN Staff on August 11, 2003 at 17:01:07 PT
By Dan Nephin, The Associated Press  
Source: Associated Press 

Pittsburgh — For years, so-called head shops and Internet retailers have sold pipes billed as being for legal tobacco products but mostly used, authorities say, to smoke marijuana. Likewise, hardcore pornographic videos have been sold through adult bookstores and the Internet.For years, neither manufacturers, retailers or buyers had much concern about the possibility of arrest. That's been changing, however, as the Department of Justice has begun cracking down on both industries, and the U.S. Attorney for the western district of Pennsylvania has been playing a key role.
Mary Beth Buchanan led "Operation Pipe Dreams," in which at least 55 people, including actor and comedian Tommy Chong, were accused of trafficking in illegal drug paraphernalia.Chong, 65, pleaded guilty in federal court in May to conspiring to sell drug paraphernalia and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 11.Last week, Buchanan announced the indictment of a California couple on charges of distributing pornography that violates federal obscenity laws."She seems to be in great favor with the administration," said Stanton D. Levenson, Chong's Pittsburgh attorney, who called Buchanan an aggressive prosecutor. She was confirmed in September 2001 and in April was appointed to chair a committee advising U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft on issues ranging from budgets to crime-fighting policies.Buchanan declined to discuss her political philosophy Monday, but said she believed enforcement of federal drug paraphernalia and obscenity laws had been lax in the past.Buchanan said every U.S. attorney was asked by the department to reduce drug trafficking and drug use and her strategy was to target paraphernalia makers and retailers. Obscenity, she said, has "always been an important priority" for Ashcroft.Obscenity cases were little prosecuted during the last administration and Ashcroft has made it known that he would step up prosecutions, said Joseph D. Obenberger, an adult entertainment industry and First Amendment lawyer in Chicago.Buchanan, who also serves on the Advisory Committee's subcommittee on child exploitation and obscenity, said she was interested in the obscenity case and coordinated the investigation with her counterpart in California and U.S. Postal Service investigators.Louis H. Sirkin, the attorney for Robert Zicari and Janet Romano, and their company, Extreme Associates, called the prosecution a test case and said he believes the federal obscenity statute is unconstitutional, based on the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a Texas sodomy law. He said adults should be able to view any sexually explicit material they wish as long as it involves consenting adults.Levenson said there seems to be a trend toward prosecuting cases outside a defendant's home jurisdiction. In the Chong and Extreme Associates cases, investigators in the Pittsburgh area ordered items and had them shipped to local addresses."The jurisdictional boundaries seem to be breaking down quite quickly," Levenson said. "The Internet has a lot to do with that."Buchanan denied the suggestion that she was shopping for a conservative jury in the obscenity case, saying the activities depicted on Extreme Associates' videos, including rape and murder, would be found to be obscene anywhere."The whole point of this case is, there are limits to what can be produced and sold, and this material exceeds those limits," Buchanan said.Complete Title: Prosecutors Targeting Drug Paraphernalia, Obscenity CasesSource: Associated PressAuthor: Dan Nephin, The Associated Press Published: Monday, August 11, 2003 Copyright: 2003 Associated Press CannabisNews -- Paraphernalia Archives

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Comment #15 posted by boppy on August 12, 2003 at 18:44:04 PT
it's time...
This administration has got to go! We cannot endure another 4 years of this crap! I hear remarks about Bush like, "Hell, I like the guy..."! Like the guy? I liked Groucho Marx but I know he couldn't have been president. It's like watching parents allowing their kids to be in charge. Look at the work Attorney General Bobby Kennedy accomplished while in office and then look at Ashcroft. No comparison. Let's pray for a landslide in our favor.
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Comment #14 posted by mayan on August 12, 2003 at 17:34:18 PT
Maybe Tommy fears a stacked jury? I don't know enough about his situation to criticize his decision. Maybe he knows something we don't. I do know that his sentencing hearing is on 9/11 & that he is tripping out on that. Maybe he thinks it is a bad omen or something. Tommy Chong is a great figure in the cannabis culture & has certainly helped the cause of cannabis law reform. He is supposedly making another "Cheech & Chong" movie right now. The world definitely needs another C & C movie right about now. Peace.
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Comment #13 posted by Ivo on August 12, 2003 at 15:16:06 PT:
Tommy Chong is a Coward, I lost all respect
No one should ever plea bargin. Trial by jury is what changes laws. More people are tolerent of Canabis than ever before! Out of 12 peers your chances are good!! Especialy if you know it is legal!!! CECK THIS LINK!
Cannabis church!
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Comment #12 posted by ivo on August 12, 2003 at 15:13:24 PT:
US law protects paraphanalia
US code: Title 21, Chapter 13, section 863
"This section shall not apply to-- any person authorized by local, State, or Federal law to manufacture, possess, or distribute such items; or any item that, in the normal lawful course of buisiness, is imported, exported, transported, or sold through the mail or by any other means, and traditionally intended for use with tobacco products, including ANY pipe, paper, or accessory." Use this in conjunction with Title 20, Chapter 26, subchapter I, sec. 951, with support drawn from US code Title 22, Chapter 73, sec. 6401, and the Universal Decleration of Human Rights.
Cannabis church!
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Comment #11 posted by Lehder on August 12, 2003 at 09:56:36 PT
growth industry
"A system that rewards failure cannot sustain."I wish this were true, but the drug war has sustained itself for a long time and grows each year. Two percent of the population produces enough food for everyone. That leaves 98% of the population free to cause, out of ignorance and foolishness, as much trouble as it will, and 98% of society's resources as discretionary allocations for constructive or destructive causes according to the people's choosing. The drug war rewards ignorance and barbarism, and promotes the ignorant and barbaric to positions of authority and power over all others. In principle, 98% of the population could serve as police to constantly monitor and drug test the 2% who are constructively occupied. The drug war has come nowhere near to reaching its maximum power; the economy and political system can absorb far more abuse before any question of sustainability arises, and the more powerful the drug war grows the more are the numbers who hold an economic or emotional interest in promoting it.The drug war is what Americans want. It will be affordable for a long time to come. It allows millions of backward 
individuals to feel good about themselves at a terrible cost to others. I suspect that when a drug warrior arrests or kills his prey, his success affords him the same psychological satisfaction and security that prehistoric humans enjoyed by smashing the skull of a stranger. Drug warring is the puritan's sex life. The greatest discovery than humans could make is that there's enough to go around now for everyone. Meanwhile, we are ruled and surrounded by beasts.
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Comment #10 posted by Jose Melendez on August 12, 2003 at 06:32:01 PT
What's next? An "Operation Marlboro Man?" Should they start a "Project Budweiser Bust?"No because poison is legal, just not pot. 
Arrest Prohibition: Drug War is Treason.
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Comment #9 posted by afterburner on August 12, 2003 at 06:21:40 PT:
in memoriam
Prisoners of consciousness 13 Sept, 1999 
"The US drug war is destroying innocent lives and families." The author of Shattered Lives: Portraits From America's Drug War puts a human face on the victims of this ongoing persecution, which he describes as the US equivalent of "ethnic cleansing."Most people know their own local media, but did you know that NORML has "Email XX Media" links for each state? Example: Email OH Media
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Comment #8 posted by goneposthole on August 12, 2003 at 05:58:51 PT
Tommy Chong
"You become McGyver in a heartbeat."-Tommy ChongWords spoken by Tommy Chong on who you become when you find a little kind bud, but have no paraphernalia to smoke it.
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Comment #7 posted by afterburner on August 12, 2003 at 04:35:49 PT:
A Good LTE
US MS: PUB LTE: Decriminalize Drugs And Nation Will Be Crime-Free 08 Aug 2003 
Greenwood Commonwealth
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Comment #6 posted by mayan on August 12, 2003 at 01:47:32 PT
Ashcroft Is Obscene
"Buchanan said every U.S. attorney was asked by the department to reduce drug trafficking and drug use and her strategy was to target paraphernalia makers and retailers. Obscenity, she said, has "always been an important priority" for Ashcroft."If a U.S. Attorney is dim enough to believe that targeting paraphernalia makers and retailers will reduce drug trafficking and drug use it is evident that this system rewards failure. A system that rewards failure cannot sustain. And obscenity has always been an important priority for Ashcroft? Well, the man is certainly obscene! He has wiped himself with our Constitution!!! Virgil, two life sentences would be too lenient for Asscrotch. FoM, here's some more info on that nasty little worm...Virus Profile - way out is the way in...Bush's 9/11 Secrets: FBI theory 'questionable',,2-10-1462_1400504,00.html'Bush Responsible For 9/11' - USAF Officer Disciplined:
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on August 11, 2003 at 21:52:10 PT
Internet Worm Attacks Microsoft Computers 
Hi Everyone,I thought some of you might want to read this article so you'll be aware of this worm. 
By Brian Krebs, Staff WriterMonday, August 11, 2003; 8:48 PM A fast-spreading Internet worm detected Monday afternoon is affecting computers worldwide that run several versions of the Windows operating system.Experts said the worm has infected up to hundreds of thousands of computers in preparation for a massive attack against Microsoft Corp.The "Blaster" worm, also known as the "San" worm, takes advantage of a vulnerability discovered three weeks ago that affects nearly all recent versions of Windows. Once a computer is infected, the worm installs instructions for attacking the Microsoft Update Web site -- the same site that users are encouraged to go to for downloading patches that would protect their systems from this worm and others. The worm then scans the Internet for other vulnerable computers.The worm has has been spreading rapidly across the Internet, according to the CERT Coordination Center, a government funded security watchdog group at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh."We're talking on the order of potentially hundreds of thousands of machines hit with this already," said Jeff Havrilla, an Internet security analyst at CERT. "The infection rate is still climbing, so this is far from over."The worm instructs infected computers to assault the Microsoft Update servers continuously after 12 a.m., August 16. Such an attack, launched by thousands of computers with high-speed connections, would prevent users from being able to reach the service, experts said. The worm is instructed to continue doing this until December 31, 2003, after which it will attack the update site on the 16th of every month.Complete Article:
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Comment #4 posted by afterburner on August 11, 2003 at 21:16:10 PT:
Thanks, goneposthole on another thread
The First Amendment Right to petition the government for redress of grievances before paying taxes: if any group has a grievance against the US Government for violation of the Constitution, it is the cannabis culture."No Answers, NO Taxes" 
     DC speech by Bob Schulz, 11/14/2002 transcendence, the government of Jefferson, Emerson, and Whitman, follows ego destruction, the government of monarchy where the king owns everything.
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Comment #3 posted by 13th step on August 11, 2003 at 20:51:34 PT
Make no mistake...
...This *IS* a culture war.If it's not "Touched By A Texas Ranger", with all those *good* messages for children, like nice god ordained violence , then it has to go.
I seem to remember CBN (Pat Robertson's network) was rated as one of the most violent ever. Violence is good.
Sex is bad.I wonder...
What music artist will be the first to go down?I mean, I know the Dead Kennedys already got bit in the 80's, 2 live Crew in the 90's , who's/what's next?Hmmm, first, getting equated with segregationists/racists , and now combining parph and porn, hmm, sounds like they're trying to get people to think they are related...maybe...You know, negative associations and all...Ugh...
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Comment #2 posted by Virgil on August 11, 2003 at 19:55:12 PT
Bullshit from top to bottom
The people are not just advancing on the unjust cannabis laws. There is growing awareness that corruption rules and the public at large is being screwed/reaped by the powers that control government.Jobs are going oversees so retailers can make even greater margins and the government get the tariffs. Alaska had close to half of the temperate rain forest in the world before the timber companies were allowed to get 150 year old trees for $1.50. My sister does not read the news like I do, but even she sees that the "Fox is guarding the hen house." There is pervasive corruption with the energy industry launching wars with Iraqi oil field maps and dictating policy like the pill industry and the insurance industry. The airline industry gets bailout money from the public treasury and the public gets debt.AOL's opening screen was about news watching being down. We get it. We are lied to by the politicians and the media conspiracy talks about anything but the rape going on. We get it. The politicians are lining their pockets while the country made a rough landing in hell.I wish I could find the article I read earlier today about the ex-governor of Montana that now offices near the White House and is the big fundraiser for the Republicans. It was at buzzflash and it laid it on this guy and was meant to be indicative of all the sell-out politicians.People are now saying like always but with more reason that all politicians are crooks. If someone does not come clean people will say that the politicians are all guilty of treason or its conspiracy. I am for life sentences with no chance of parole and give Ashcroft two.
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Comment #1 posted by i420 on August 11, 2003 at 18:53:29 PT
Oh it is okay for the hollywood moguls but let an average american try to make a buck an they are indicted welcome to the united soviet state of america.
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