Drug Policy

From Bongs to Dongs

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This week Mary Beth Buchanan, the U.S. attorney who prosecuted Tommy Chong for selling bongs, filed drug paraphernalia and fraud charges against the makers of the Whizzinator, a fake penis used to deliver clean urine (sold separately) for drug tests. (You may have seen ads for the dodgy dong in High Times, where the manufacturer, Puck Technology of Signal Hill, California, brags that the Whizzinator is so realistic, the picture of it has to be censored.) Puck's president, Gerald Wills, and vice president, Robert D. Catalano, said they plan to plead guilty:

Stanton D. Levenson, who represents the company, previously said that he didn't think the government could make a drug paraphernalia case against his client.

But yesterday, Mr. Levenson said he did research that showed his earlier opinion was wrong.

"We're convinced that the government's theory is correct, and the government has a case," he said. "Obviously, it's serious if somebody is faking drug tests who is then driving a tractor-trailer or a bus or flying an airplane."

Under federal law, drug paraphernalia includes items "primarily intended or designed for use in…concealing…a controlled substance." Each offense is punishable by fines and up to three years in prison. Prosecutors also accuse Wills and Catano of conspiring to defraud the government—specifically, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which oversees federal workplace drug testing programs. They brought the charges after investigators ordered the Whizzinator, along with a more female-friendly device called Number 1, and had them delivered to western Pennsylvania, where Buchanan is based. In addition to charging Wills and Catalano, Buchanan is seeking to seize Puck's assets, including its domain names.

Despite the predictable public safety angle, it's likely that most of Puck's customers were pot smokers seeking to avoid a positive test result for marijuana consumption off the job, as opposed to employees who operate tractor-trailers, buses, or airplanes while stoned. As I noted in a 2002 reason article, drug testing as it is typically practiced by American employers does not measure impairment and is not meant to do so. Its main purpose is not to prevent accidents but to please the government and to screen out applicants whom employers perceive as undesirable because they violate the drug laws.

[Thanks to Paul Rako for the tip.]

NEXT: Can We Privatize It? Yes, We Can!

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  1. I will increase the budget and authority of the
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.We owe it to the poor victims and the children……

  2. It’s very simple. God only knows what the feds actually threatened these guys with if they didn’t cop a plea. Imprisonment in the Supermax? Sharing a cell with a large mean guy? It’s gotta have been something like that.

  3. What’s the deal with Buchanan, anyway; is she planning on running for governor of New York…

  4. “primarily intended or designed for use in…concealing…a controlled substance.”

    Wouldn’t that mean that THC metabolite in urine is a controlled substance and therefore a prosecutable offense?

  5. After seeing a “Whizzinator” up close I’m wondering… do female drug users get a pass?

    Does Smacky ever make an appearance here anymore?

  6. Why can’t we just kill people like this?

    I mean, I’m all for the privileges of “civilization,” but sometimes we need to just save ourselves from busy-bodies in the most direct, and effective way possible.

  7. They brought the charges after investigators ordered the Whizzinator, along with a more female-friendly device called Number 1,

    It doesn’t get much more female-friendly than a fake penis.

    Hi, Ruthless!

  8. Under federal law, drug paraphernalia includes items “primarily intended or designed for use in…concealing…a controlled substance.”

    Then proof of urinary incontinence will absolve the suspect, yes?

  9. IIRC, both Tom Sizemore and Onterrio Smith were famous for Using the Original Whizzinator.

  10. Just say the headline outloud to yourself, it’s wonderful 🙂

  11. Shoulda gone with the bong defense and slapped a sticker saying its for entertainment purposes only. Or very specific fetishists.

  12. When I was in the army we used the plastic bottles the gun lube came in. Just fill it up and stick it in your fly. The NCO’s would watch us but not too hard for we dopers were the best people they had.

    Back then the tests wouldn’t detect any hash or pot. The guys with clean piss had a real business going.

  13. What you don’t realize is how realistic the thing is. Apparently. Because two years ago, Pittsburgh was all aflutter. The local stations were reporting that someone was arrested at a convenience store for microwaving a severed penis. Weird cannibalism, it seemed. Probably drug fiends, to boot!

    Turns out it was someone with a Whizzinator trying to heat the whole system up before heading to a drug test.

    Hilarious!

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06099/680744-85.stm

  14. I don’t quite get how this falls under the “paraphernalia” definition. Maybe it’s just me. What is really sad is that, I assume that they are trying to send a message or make an example out of them to the other companies, however it just won’t work. There are hundreds of companies that sell products to assist in passing drug tests, none of them are quite to the extent of this one however there are many out there.

    The fact is, is that it won’t change a thing. I know that personally after my arrest, I just became more of an advocate. Before hand I was just a normal user of cannabis, who obviously wanted it legalized but didn’t crusade or anything. Most people I talk to who have experienced the hand of the law cracking down on them feel the same way. Oh well, hopefully soon it will be legalized…hopefully.

  15. That’s a pretty impressive looking piece of ..equipment. Still, I suppose it wouldn’t sell if it were a more modest size.

  16. It would be funny if they made uncircumsised Whizzinaters.

  17. This lady deserves to be dropped in a well and left to die.

  18. I wish I had more insight into why the company is planning to plead guilty. I guess the details of the plea agreement, which the lawyer cannot reveal, might help understand. Maybe the company’s assets (and even projected revenue for the next few years), which they have to forfeit, are less than the costs of going to trial.

  19. The Marion County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office uses Wizzinators in prostitution stings. The prostitutes always ask them to show their penis to make sure they’re not a cop, so they started using them. Seems to me that if there are legitimate non-illicit uses for the product such as this, they’ll be protected.

  20. Wow, you mean there are FL cops who DON’T get BJs or ordinary sex all the way to orgasm from the prostitutes they’re going to arrest, and when busted call it “a job benefit”? Be still, my beating heart!!

  21. The police in Marion county don’t have real dicks?

  22. “Its main purpose is not to prevent accidents but to please the government and to screen out applicants whom employers perceive as undesirable because they violate the drug laws.”

    It’s main purpose is most likely an additional tool to be used against plaintiff’s attorneys.

  23. CSI: it seems small to me

  24. of course, I’m only familiar with my own

    n=1

  25. Parse
    “I wish I had more insight into why the company is planning to plead guilty. I guess the details of the plea agreement, which the lawyer cannot reveal, might help understand. Maybe the company’s assets (and even projected revenue for the next few years), which they have to forfeit, are less than the costs of going to trial.”

    This is pretty much always the case. Fighting a case in court is not only much more expensive and time consuming, it is also a big gamble. If you fight and lose, you can kiss that sweet little plea bargain goodbye and expect maximum sentence.

  26. I guess the folks at the whizzinator will have to invent some bouncy fake tits that can hold a pint of vodka.

  27. Once again, if you can’t tell if someone is using drugs without a test, how bad a problem can the drug use be?

  28. I don’t know if the top poster was actually Barack Obama, but if so, I think it would be unwise to continue the status quo when it comes to the War on Drugs. A few years back you admitted that this whole thing was a failure and that we needed to decriminalize marijuana. Why would you want to continue wasting gov’t money on drug testing programs that screen people for what they like to do OFF THE JOB. There are thousands of workers who like to smoke marijuana to relax much like Joe Six Pack unwinding with his beer. These tests don’t measure actual impairment either and usually target marijuana users. I work for a company that has a testing policy but they hardly ever use it because of its lack of effectiveness in finding bad employees. This is an irrational policy in a time of crisis where we need to ELIMINATE wasteful spending. Why are you afraid of change? isn’t that what your campaign promised?

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