Drug War

Drug Paraphernalia Raids Make Books Disappear

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DCist reports that Capitol Hemp has stopped carrying drug-related books (including mine) in response to drug paraphernalia raids on two of its locations:

According to a source close to the store, lawyers for co-owners Adam Eidinger and Alan Amsterdam advised them to stop selling the books for fear that they could be used as pretext for another raid while the two negotiate with prosecutors over charges stemming from October's raids.

It's probably sound advice. The police affidavit that justified the October raids made note of the books and DVDs in the store, using them to make a case that the water pipes the stores sells are actually nothing more than bongs to be used for marijuana. Under the District's laws on drug paraphernalia, these distinctions matter—police have to prove that a seller knew that a pipe would be used for illegal drugs for the pipe itself to be illegal, and what better way than a few books and DVDs to make the case?

Last November I noted the free speech implications of the Capitol Hemp investigation:

The upshot of using such evidence is that people can be punished for exercising their First Amendment rights: The same item might be deemed legal when sold on its own but illegal when sold alongside pro-cannabis literature or (as in this case) "even a DVD titled '10 Rules of Dealing with Police.'"

I noted that problem in "Bongs Away!," my 2009 Reason story about drug paraphernalia laws. While the Supreme Court has dismissed such concerns, the focus on countercultural signifiers and pro-drug (or anti-prohibition) speech is of a piece with the whole anti-paraphernalia crusade, which is best understood as a reaction against messages that offend people.

In the 1982 case Hoffman Estates v. Flipside, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected First Amendment objections to an Illinois town's anti-paraphernalia ordinance. The Court noted that "Flipside displayed the magazine High Times and books entitled Marijuana Grower's Guide, Children's Garden of Grass, and The Pleasures of Cocaine, physically close to pipes and colored rolling papers, in clear violation of the guidelines." But Justice Thurgood Marshall did not think criminalizing that sort of conjunction raised any First Amendment problems. He was unimpressed by "the theoretical possibility that the village will enforce its ordinance against a paper clip placed next to Rolling Stone magazine." That scenario has proven to be not so theoretical, since selling magazines, books, DVDs, and T-shirts that criticize the war on drugs exposes merchants to legal risks they would not otherwise face. The chilling effect in this case seems pretty clear.

Previous coverage of the Capitol Hemp case here and here. More on the free speech and due process issues raised by drug paraphernalia laws here (PDF).

[via Radley Balko's Twitter feed]

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  1. Books are dangerous. They cause people to think.

    1. People doing drugs find work to be absurd. Business can’t tolerate people who find wage-slavery absurd.

      Why Work?
      http://whywork.org/

    2. My neighbor just met a bisexual man on —datebi*cOMit’s where for men and women looking
      for bisexual and bi-curious individuals to meet in a friendly and comfortable environment.
      It’s a nice place for the people who have the same sexual orientation.

  2. Who buys a bong or a glass pipe for tobacco? Seriously.

    1. I do officer.

      1. AM

        [I]

        FREE

        2

        GAMBOL,

        officer?

        Across FOREST AND plaaaaain?

        1. GAMBOLING about plain and forest, hunting and living off the land is fun. Farming is not. That’s all one needs to know to begin a rethinking of the issue. The fundamental question was properly phrased by Colin Tudge of the London School of Economics: “The real problem, then, is not to explain why some people were slow to adopt agriculture but why anybody took it up at all.”

          ~Richard Manning
          Against the Grain, p. 24

          1. I took a shit on the plain once

          2. Because starving is less fun than farming.

    2. Everybody in Yunnan Province, China.

      http://www.google.com/imgres?q…..=142&ty=34

      http://www.posterlounge.co.uk/…..14999.html

  3. WHO WRINKLED MY RANDY TRAVIS POSTER?!?

    1. Officer am I free to Gambol?

      1. Mises: NO!
        Marx: NYET!

    2. AM I FREE????

      AM

      I

      FEREE

      TOOOO
      GAMBOOOOOOOOOOOOOL?

      [across forest and plain]

      OFFICER?

      Libertarianism=FAKE PHILOSOPHY, Agricultural City-State Totalitarinism DIE

      1. Marx: NYET!
        Mises: NO!

        Your city-Statist overlords are SUPERIOR! They have a perfect plan of salvation for your life, which you must accept or be killed!

        “You are INFERIOR and all the improvements in your conditions which you simply take for granted you owe to the efforts of men who are BETTER THAN YOU.

        ~Ludwig von Mises
        letter to Ayn Rand
        23 January 1958

        1. I took a shit once on someone who kept talking about Mises and Rand like everyone at this site follows them.

          That must be you.

    3. BOB SAGET!!!!!

      SHIT!!!!

      1. DON’T TALK SHIT ABOUT TOTAL!!!

        1. *waves arms around to fend off bees or flies or whatever is attacking while mowing the lawn….lets go of mower and runs into house…*

          1. YOU GET YOUR RETARDED ASS IN THE BATHROOM AND SHAVE THOSE SIDEBURNS!!!

    4. I SAID, FUCK ME!

  4. Mania….mania……..MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHrmylsehgwfwtrhgrefgfnhfregrweqwd
    asc b/fsb.hwsvd

  5. GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL GAMBOL

    1. rather must be high & so subject to a no-knock SWAT raid featuring shooting the doggie

      1. I’m tallin’ ya, o, it’s waaaaaaaaaaay too long that rectal’s been off the meds. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long.

        Im concerned for its health 🙁

    2. Is this really rather? If so, seriously girl, go get some help. You’re rather and WI personalities are starting to merge, and it appears to be causing you quite a bit of conflict. Bi-polar disorder is common in my family, and the manic episodes can be awesome and fun. They can also be damaging. They can also be treated, medically. I would recommend it for you. Seriously.

      1. You’re rather and WI personalities are starting to merge

        BY THEIR POWERS COMBINED I AAAAAAAAAAAAM CAPTAIIIIIIIIIIIIN PLANET!!!!

        [go PLANET!]

      2. It’s out of character for rather. 20 bucks says it’s an unusually mean spoofer.

        1. Unusually mean? Like posting someone’s real name over and over again while accusing them of being a child molester and threatening to contact their employer? That sort of mean?

          1. I thought that asshole was anonymous. Did rather own up to it?

            1. Of course not, but she spent considerable effort on the evening threads last night crowing about the fact that they weren’t able to ban her. And threatening to sue posters and Reason.

              Sometimes 2+2 really does equal 4.

              1. You’re talking about the NEWS FLASH troll, correct?

                1. Yup. Which was in direct response to John wondering if she got banned because she disappeared for a few hours after the posts about him were deleted.

        2. I don’t think even the regulars who despise rather would go to such lengths to spoof, though. If so, this is some epic shit. I hope it ends soon.

          1. Yeah, I sure hope it’s not a regular, because whoever this is, they’re completely insane.

          2. Those are spoofs. Which people shouldn’t do, because it generates sympathy for her and allows her to disavow the really nasty shit she gets up to while griefing this board.

            1. ^This

              Spoofs just make it harder for all of us. Stop fucking spoofing, whoever you are. Let the crazy show its own colors.

              1. Yeah. What those guys (and gal) said. The extra spoofing is not helping.

  6. I’m a big supporter of the 1st Amendment. It pisses me off that Paladin Press books have been effectively banned, also.

    I do have to laugh, however, at the idea that the cops would need a list of books and DVDs to support the notion that a store called Capitol Hemp is selling bongs for smoking, well, hemp.

    1. I started losing support for free speech at this time:

      rather|2.23.12 @ 2:05PM|#

      1. city state supporters suck donkey COCK!

        NO REGISTRATION!

        NO REGISTRATION!

        NO REGISTRAAATIOOOON!!!!!!!!!11

    2. Hit Man was a good read, though I have yet to put what I learned to good use. Yet 😉

      1. If we pass the hat, will you get rectal?

        I’m good for $3.95

  7. Thoughtcrime achieved!

  8. she’s gonna blow!

  9. I would be interested to know how much the WOD actually cost a year (enforcement, prison, military,etc). It’s insane the amount of resources we spend to keep people from having fun. Insane.

    1. Power is an end, not a means.

      Without the drug war the cops would have to give up the power to stop any person on the street and hold them guilty until they prove their innocence by submitting to a search.

      They would have to give up the power to dress up like Army men and bust into civilians’ homes, ready to kill.

      They would have to give up the power to steal private property.

      The point of the war on drug users is power. Drugs have nothing to do with it.

      1. One might even say that power IS a drug, one of the oldest and most desirable drugs known to humankind. So intense and seductive that people delight in it even by proxy.

  10. It’s got to make Jacob feel good to have written a book so dangerous that jack-booted thugs have to confiscate it.

    1. AM i free 2 GAMBOl sugar FREE?

    2. Why don’t you shut up SugarFraud?

      1. Don’t you have a panty-flash you need to perform at some Oscar pre-party?

        1. DON’T BELITTLE THE WAY I GET ATTENTION!

  11. They must have forgotten to apply the consumer advisory stickers to the utensils.

    1. So who needs to be punished for that? I believe The State? will suggest that it’s Jacob’s fault (for his book) and the store proprieter (for the bongs water pipes and such….

      HANGING AT SUNRISE!

  12. The prohibitionists are not stupid. If you can’t win an argument, just declare the expression of the other side’s arguments to be criminal.

    1. Let me guess, the books are being held in a bank account in Switzerland?

      1. As matter of fact yes they are, along with numerous climate documents that prove beyond doubt that AGW is real. If you could just send me your bank account number, you could assist me in getting my family fortune back and proving all of the deniers wrong.

  13. police have to prove that a seller knew that a pipe would be used for illegal drugs for the pipe itself to be illegal

    How is it even conceivably possible to prove that? Are head shop owners mind readers? It is not possible to have knowledge of the future. Or do the words “know” and “prove” mean something different when used by police?

    1. It is not possible to have knowledge of the future

      The Pre-Crime Unit disagrees with you.

      Please cooperate with Officer Gambol while he books you for crimes you would have committed had he not intervened…YOU MONSTER!!!

    2. That’s why Kentucky just got rid of the pre-knowledge pussy-footing, the dipshits just outright banned the manufacture and importation of waterpipes.

      You can still buy them, of course. Now they are miniature glass sculptures.

      1. Good thing no one managed to smoke pot before fancy glass pipes and bongs were readily available. What do these people think they are accomplishing?

        1. A friend of mine once made a pipe out the shaft of a mini maglight. It sucked ass to use, but it worked.

  14. This also shows that they’re moving less books than paraphernalia.

    Not that that’s a surprise.

    1. “Ima get to those books right after I burn this bad boy….”

      *pffffffffffffffffffffffffffff*

      *cough cough cough cough cough!*

      *pffffffffffffffffffffffffffff*

      “I’m hungry…”

  15. Corporations aren’t people, maaaan.

    1. Good point.

      If this bookstore is incorporated, it has no free speech rights whatsoever, so banning it from selling The Wrong Books is all good.

    2. This comment wins on infinite levels.

  16. sorry to OT but…

    http://news.yahoo.com/anderson…..14723.html

    Don’t bother reading the story, just the headline:

    Anderson Cooper Struggling to Survive in Daytime

    I knew that pasty vitamin D-deficient albino was suffering, but struggling to survive?

    1. Drug-resistant anal gonorrhea is a terrible disease.

    2. I knew that pasty vitamin D-deficient albino was suffering, but struggling to survive?

      …In Daytime. Proving that your vitamin d-deficient albino is in fact, a vampire.

  17. We obviously need more drinking establishments inside of Congress.

    “There, according to reports, he was one of dozens of visitors who witnessed a startling scene as Eric Joyce, a Labour MP, went on a violent rampage against Tory MPs and was arrested.

    Mr. Joyce, the member for Falkirk, reportedly began dancing erratically before shouting a disparaging remark about the Tories, dumping drinks on some fellow members, swinging his fists at several MPs who tried to calm him down, including Labour whip Phil Wilson.

    He then head-butted Stuart Andrew, the Tory MP for Pudsey, punched a few more people, and head-butted the MP again. “

    1. Why, oh why can’t our Congress be like this?

      1. Or like this, very inspirational

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..12BBE02A79

  18. If you’re going to be arrested or have your property seized when you write, publish, or sell a book, isn’t that effectively prior restraint?

    It certainly has a chilling effect on speech. It’s hard to imagine what more they could do, other than disappear you to Guantanamo for a few years.

  19. Jack-booted clowns would probably confiscate Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. “I Sing the Body Electric”, indeed.

    Also, Alan Amsterdam.

  20. This makes a lot of sense dude, I mean in a very cool way. Wow

    http://www.Anon-Online.tk

  21. O Mighty Squirrelz, hear my plea.

    Registration. I’m begging you.

    Its not a perfect solution to your troll infestation, but its probably as good as you’ll get.

    1. Oh Mighty Squirrelz, please do not link registration to Facebook. Just let it be a straight email address/verification registration.

      1. This. Disqus would work too.

  22. “Flipside displayed the magazine High Times and books entitled Marijuana Grower’s Guide, Children’s Garden of Grass, and The Pleasures of Cocaine”

    I’m pretty sure it’s “A Child’s Garden of Grass”. I had the book and the album. I still remember their advice for getting high – find people with pot and stand nearby looking wistful.

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