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February 2006
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The desire to eradicate even the thought of marijuana

It’s not enough for many to enforce unjust laws against marijuana possession, growth and sale… they have to find other ways to express their displeasure through punishment.
Paraphernalia laws are a prime example of this. How absurd a notion! Thing A (marijuana) is illegal, and Thing B (pipe) can be used to facilitate the use of Thing A. Thing A doesn’t in any way require Thing B, and Thing B and be used for a lot of different things not involving Thing A. Someone can buy Thing B intending to use it with Thing A and that’s legal. However, if you attempt to sell Thing B with the acknowledgment that someone might use it with Thing A, you’re busted (even if the buyer had no interest in Thing A, and no Thing A was around or involved). Confused? You should be.
I can legally tell people that Hookahs can be used to smoke marijuana. I can legally open up a store and sell Hookahs and tell people that they’re for tobacco use. However, once i have that store, if I tell people that Hookahs can be used to smoke marijuana, I’ve broken the law, because now I’m selling drug paraphernalia.
Not counting the big Tommy Chong affair, I haven’t talked much about paraphernalia busts, but they continue to happen all the time. Recently, it seems that Spencer’s Gift stores seem to be targeted.

A hookah may be just a hookah, police in Middletown Township say.
But if sold under a sign reading: “Marijuana – because your friends just aren’t that funny,” it’s drug paraphernalia, they contend.
Middletown police have charged the president of Spencer Gifts Inc., Steven Silverstein, 46, of Summit, N.J., and the manager of the chain’s Oxford Valley Mall store, Wayne Oles, 53, of North Philadelphia, with delivery of or possession with intent to deliver drug paraphernalia and criminal conspiracy for selling hookahs — tall water pipes used for smoking tobacco and other substances in some parts of the world.

The detective claims that employees gave him tips on how to use the hookahs to smoke marijuana — possible, but a claim I find unlikely given the fact that every store I’ve been in seems paranoid about this exact scenario, and has a big “For tobacco use only” sign above the hookahs. What really seemed to set the detective off was the fact that the store also sold items with marijuana leaves on them.
A picture named leaf.gif

Police seized the hookahs in September, along with thousands of key chains, T-shirts, Frisbees and other items depicting marijuana leaves, Detective Daniel Baranoski said.
Stores are permitted to sell merchandise with drug-related artwork, said Witold “Vic” Walczak, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.
“Just because something has a marijuana leaf on it doesn’t make it illegal,” he said.
Baranoski concurred and said the merchandise was seized and continues to be held as evidence to show that the hookahs were intended for marijuana use.

So let me get this straight. In this case, pictures of leaves have been seized because their existence demonstrates intent that another item’s sale was to be used with something illegal. Orwellian?
A picture named applepipe.jpgSo, if I had a Farmer’s Market, and sold marijuana key chains, I wonder if I could be arrested for also selling apples?
Here was the kicker in the story:

Parents initiated the investigation at the Oxford Valley Mall, Baranoski said.
“Some parents were shocked at what they sold behind the counter there,” he said. “Adolescents go in that store and may think from the merchandise that marijuana use is OK. And it’s not.”

Horrors! The danger of kids going into Spencer’s Gifts and getting the wrong idea from something that’s sold there.
Well, a picture of a marijuana leaf is a pretty dangerous thing to expose children to — as opposed to all the other child-friendly items sold at Spencer’s…

A picture named gifts.jpg
[Thanks, Tom]

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