Chong Bong Gone Wrong
Thanks to Tim Cavanaugh at Hit and Run, I learned that Tommy Chong has been sentenced today to nine months for selling bongs online.
This is the first sentencing coming out of the federal government’s Operation Pipe Dreams and Operation Headhunter in February, which involved over 2,000 law enforcement officers, plus multiple federal, state, and local agencies.
Through their intensive investigation, they were actually able to discover companies that manufactured and sold glass pipes and other devices that were being sold online.
Of course, they could have also found these companies by spending 5 minutes with Google. You see, paraphernalia has always been a bit of a grey area, in that many items can be used for multiple purposes. A pipe can be used to smoke tobacco. In the past, those who manufactured and sold these items got along fine as long as they didn’t promote drug use with their products.
However, the administration decided to change the interpretation — not through a public information campaign, but through a massive bust involving over 50 arrests, seizures of glass art and websites, and loss of jobs (including Chong’s business). If you’d like to know more about Operation Pipe Dreams and Operation Headhunter, check out Jesse Katz’s July article in Rolling Stone: “White House Tries to Ban Bongs”. It’s a very good piece on the subject.
A recent study showed that over 19 million Americans used illegal drugs last year. Clearly, this major effort by the government is another attempt to stop drug use.
So I asked my friend George how this affected him:
“Well, you know, I like to toke up a little on the weekends, particularly when I’m watching the Sci-fi channel. But now that you can’t buy bongs, I guess I won’t be able to anymore. It really sucks, ’cause I’ve got a whole ounce of BC Bud that I’m going to have to throw out.
“But hey, I understand. They’ve gotta fight those terrorists, and I heard there’s some kind of connection there. I guess the terrorists use the bongs for, uh, something.”
The government’s plan must be working! I then asked George to say the title of this post four times fast, but he refused.
Perhaps the definitive quote on this subject comes from “One War Or Another – It’s Bongs Over Baghdad” in the Toronto Star:
At the end of the day, “Operation Pipe Dreams,” as the crackdown was creatively named, did nothing more than screw up the lives and livelihoods of several dozen entrepreneurs and provide the authorities with an elaborate media stunt to disguise the fact that they’re not doing their real job.
To help all those drug users who no longer can smoke their pot, I am going to break the law and offer special marijuana pipes online. DEA, come and get me.
These pot paraphernalia pipes are pictured at right. Now, some people say that these items can be used for bizarre purposes like eating, making pies, or target practice for expert archers. But I’m here to tell you that their purpose is for smoking pot.
So, here is the link to purchase your own Apple Pipes.
(Note: some assembly required, pen shaft and aluminum foil screen not included)