All in Your Head Shop


The Tacoma City Council is considering an ordinance that would make it a "gross misdemeanor," punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and a year in jail, to sell bongs, crack pipes, or other implements used to consume illegal substances. Police will not be fooled by signs proclaiming "all accessories are designed and marketed for use with tobacco and legal herbs." (As a fake head shop owner on Comedy Central's Crossballs put it, "There are a lot of people in society who enjoy smoking tobacco in very elaborate ways.") In fact, the Tacoma News Tribune reports that police plan to charge shopkeepers for selling even seemingly innocuous items such as the Love Rose, "a 4-inch glass tube stuffed with a small rose," and glass pens that "can be dismantled so that only the glass tube remains"–both of which can be used to inhale crack fumes. Retailers who want to avoid jail may also want to steer clear of aluminum foil, paper clips, spoons, and apples.


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  1. “steer clear of aluminum foil, paper clips, spoons, and apples.”

    Not to mention lamp parts, brass or stainless-steel screens, corn cobs, plumbing supplies……..

  2. “…Not to mention lamp parts, brass or stainless-steel screens, corn cobs, plumbing supplies……..”

    Ummmm, hello, only plumbers should have plumbing supplies in the first place. And only qualified electricians should be able get lamp parts. These are dangerous items that should not be available to the public “at large”. In fact, home depot should be shutdown, or at least institute an ID checking policy to ensure that only qualified, licensed, and bonded contractors have access to these potentially jeopardous materials [pipe bomb anyone?]

    Freedom Isn’t Free. Why does bob villa hate America?

  3. Don’t forget watermelons.

  4. Could you say the aluminum foil was a piece that fell off your hat?

    What about watermelons, B?
    Not that I want to be all that knowledgeable about this sort of thing.

  5. why can’t we have a War on Government?

  6. In Florida your MJ possession charge will be aggravated by a possession of drug paraphenalia charge. The BAGGY you’re carrying it in. Who says pot doesn’t make people crazy? Look at what happens to cops and pols every time they talk abut it.

  7. They’ll take my hookah when they pry it from my cold dead hands.

    And yes, I do use it as an elaborate way to smoke tobacco.

  8. I am wondering what they will replaced soda cans/bottles with given how easy it is to convert them into insidious drug ingestion instruments.

  9. I don’t know if the terrorists have won, but the Taliban sure have.

  10. Since virtually any airtight container can be turned into a bong, and since head-shop pipes can be used with tobacco, “drug paraphernalia” are defined entirely by cosmetic features. Kind of like “assault weapons.”

    For that matter, even though there’s no law that says it’s illegal to carry more than x amount of cash, if a larcenous pig pulls you over and thinks you’ve got “too much” cash on you, you can count on it being stolen (I mean, “forfeited.”).

  11. Kevin-

    I once got a ticket for speeding while driving through Wyoming. I was moving from Wisconsin to California, and so I had a WI driver’s license. The cop told me that since there was no extradition agreement between WI and WY (or something like that, I forget the details) I had 2 options: Pay cash right then and there, or go to jail until I find a way to get the cash. Otherwise, there would supposedly be no way for WY to enforce a court order against me if I failed to pay after leaving the state.

    Fortunately, I had enough cash on me.

    I’m not a lawyer, but something about his story (such as, say, the part about handing him cash) seemed fishy. Nonetheless, when you’re in the middle of nowhere, and a man with a gun asks for money, you hand it over and smile.

    A few months later the ticket showed up on my driving record and jacked up my insurance. So I guess that he did in fact report the ticket and hand over at least some of the cash. Still, I wish I’d saved the ticket with his badge number on it. I could have called the WY state police to find out if he had overcharged me and saved the excess.

    The lesson: Even though credit cards are so convenient, always keep significant cash on you when you travel cross-country. You never know what the cops will want.

  12. gaius marius,

    Because the combatants would be called wog warriors, you racist. Time for an emoticon:)

  13. Man, that emoticon looked OK when I previewed it… 🙂

  14. thoreau,

    That reminds me of the scene in National Lampoon’s Vacation where the tow-truck driver charges Clark everything in his wallet, and then says “That’s not illegal; I oughta know–I’m the sheriff!”

  15. “why can’t we have a War on Government?”

    Haha, well that’s one war effort I’d be glad to get behind gm.

  16. This goes back to what I said the other day, about the cure being the disease. So now law abiding small business owners will be criminalized if they don’t get rid of their love roses and glass pens. This calls for a major WTF!?!?!?!?

    War on Drugs = Criminalizing the innocent. But its all worth it….for the kids.

  17. “I once got a ticket for speeding while driving through Wyoming. I was moving from Wisconsin to California”

    Odd, I had a similar experience except with Connecticut, South Dakota, and Washington state. Although in my case, the cop asked me to come back to his car. En route, I absentmindedly stuck my hand in my pocket, which caused the cop to reach for his gun, and tell me show him my hands. My heart rate went from 50 to 350 in about .5 seconds.

    A few moments later, sitting in the front seat of his cruiser, heartrate still about 200, while waiting for the dog to show up and scratch at my new car, he told me he was suspicious, since I seemed nervous. The laugh I couldn’t stifle only seemed to make him angry.

    The lesson: Hmmmm… apparently you should establish good karma with dogs, lest one send you to jail in the middle of the high plains, also, practice having strangers draw guns on you when there isn’t another soul within 30 miles, so you don’t get too anxious when it happens for real.

  18. I am bemused by this statement of achievement:

    If passed, the ordinance would be the first of its kind in Western Washington, said Greg Hopkins, a Tacoma police community liaison officer.

    “We’ll have a law no one else has,” he said. “It takes us to the next level.”

    That would be the level with the knee-high boots and the 12 a.m. knock-knock jokes.

  19. Don’t forget green peppers. Much easier than apples.

  20. “The lesson: Even though credit cards are so convenient, always keep significant cash on you when you travel cross-country. You never know what the cops will want.”

    You’re a crooked cop’s best friend, Thoreau.

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