Drug Policy

A Report From Obama's "Humane" Drug War: "My son screamed for his mother for what seemed like an eternity"


At 5:30 a.m. on May 10, armed men broke into the bedroom of Kirk Kyle Farrar's 12 year-old daughter and shook her awake. The men led her downstairs at gunpoint and forced her to lie on the floor next to her mother and father, with her hands behind her head. Another armed man took Farrar's two-year-old son from his crib, and would not let his parents hold him. "My son screamed for his mother for what seemed like an eternity," Farrar wrote in an email to friends, obtained by Reason. "I will never forget the hopeless feeling of not being able to comfort my son or daughter."

The armed men who broke into Farrar's home were officers with the Meridian, Idaho, Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration. They were executing a federal warrant for Farrar's arrest for the crime of selling bongs.

Farrar's wasn't the only family traumatized that morning. Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Idaho National Guard, and four Idaho police departments raided the homes of 13 other headshop owners and employees on May 10. All of the headshops had their inventory seized. One shop lost more than $80,000 worth of merchandise (bongs and pipes marketed as "tobacco water pipes"). Another headshop owner had his and and his employees' vehicles seized.

The investigation into these 13 shops and their employees (two of which are still at large) for selling drug paraphernalia was led by U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson, a Barack Obama appointee. Nine of the shops were also accused of selling "spice," a synthetic alternative to the prohibited and significantly safer drug marijuana. 

In his email, Farrar denies selling spice. "Piece of Mind Boise has never carried these products EVER! We made a commitment from the start not to carry it because we believe it is dangerous and not being used in a legal fashion." 

He also notes that his cousin, "[who] has never previously committed a crime and has absolutely no criminal record," has been charged with "with 4 Federal felony charges stemming from selling tobacco products." 

"The open sale of drug paraphernalia promotes unlawful drug use and helps drug traffickers thrive," Olson said at a press conference on May 10. "These indictments show federal, state and local law enforcement partners will attack drug trafficking on all fronts."

During a speech at the Center for American Progress earlier this month, Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske said that the law enforcement-only approach to America's drug problem was not "humane, compassionate" or "realistic." He also said that the Obama administration does not believe it can "arrest its way out of the drug problem." 

Reason spoke to one headshop owner. At his attorney's behest, this owner declined to go on the record, but did say that local police had been aware of the store's existence and sales of glass pipes for years, but had never threatened charges or discouraged the business from operating. The owner believes that the raids came at the behest of federal law enforcement officials.

According to the Idaho Statesman, "the DEA, Idaho National Guard, IRS and the U.S. Marshals and Attorney's offices worked on the case," which the agencies built over the course of an entire year.  

As if more evidence were needed that President Obama's drug war looks a lot like George W. Bush's: The charges against Farrar and the other Idaho headshop owners are reminiscent of the federal prosecution of actor Tommy Chong under Bush's DOJ. Chong was convicted in 2003 for distributing paraphernalia through his company Nice Dreams Enterprises. Chong was fined $20,000, and made to forfeit his domain name, all of his inventory, and $103,514 in cash. 

From Reason.tv: "Obama's War on Bongs: Capitol Hemp Edition"

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  1. Why do these people act in a way incommensurate with the violations they seek to abate? Seems ridiculous to enter these people's homes at all, when that's not where their business is. Is there any indication these people were about to flee or do something dangerous? Ordinarily such technical violations are addressed by letters and conferences seeking to bring the business into compliance.

    Oh yeah...wurst.

    1. I believe the meme of, "Fuck you! That's why!" applies here, Robert.

      1. my best friend's step-aunt makes $68/hour on the computer. She has been out of a job for ten months but last month her pay was $12930 just working on the computer for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more..FaceBookJob.Notlong.CoM

    2. They are acting like this because it is an opportunity to punish people without a fair trial.

      1. They are acting like this because they know that citizens will not become enraged and express hatred for the authorities and their families. That's what I do. They have changed their behavior to escape from me at municipal meetings.

        1. "I was talking about a situation in which law enforcement agents come smashing into a house, don't say who they are and their guns are out, they're shooting and they're in the wrong place. This has happened time and time again. The ATF has gone in and gotten the wrong person in the wrong place. The law is that if somebody is shooting at you, using deadly force, the mere fact that they are a law enforcement officer, if they are in the wrong, does not mean you are obliged to allow yourself to be killed so your kinfolk can have a wrongful death action. You are legally entitled to defend yourself and I was speaking of exactly those kind of situations. If you're going to do that, you should know that they're wearing body armor so you should use a head shot. Now all I'm doing is stating the law, but all the nuances in there got left out when the story got repeated."
          G. Gordon Liddy

    3. Because isn't that why they went into Law Enforcement in the first place? To terrorize people legally?

      I mean, are there any good, moral or ethical reasons to join the ATF or DEA? I can understand some people wanting to generally keep the streets safe, but they would be joining local law enforcement or maybe the FBI

      1. As much as I think these folks have lost at least a little bit of their humanity, they are believe in what they are doing. They believe the crap about "taking drugs off the streets". Neill Franklin may have been like some atheists in pulpit, but I think went into the field as a sincere desire to help. Unfortunately, the more kids you force to the floor, the more cognitive dissonance you get from doubting that the ends justify the means.

      2. I mean, are there any good, moral or ethical reasons to join the ATF or DEA?

        This is one of the many reasons government totally sucks.Both agencies employ technical people who love their subject as much as the law-breakers and those of us who reluctantly abide by the laws. If you are a firearms enthusiast or have an interest in the organic chemistry of drugs there are a bunch of otherwise fine people in these agencies who share your interests. Too bad they work for the state but it is unfortunately understandable they want to earn an "honest" living doing what they love. I'm speaking of the technical people more than the frontline "enforcement" agents.

      3. One of the things I found most amusing about the wikileaks/Stratfor dust-up was the memo in which the ATF was described as "rednecks with a license to kill".

    4. Of course the why is obvious: it's part of their punishment. The authorities can't actually say that since that's illegal, but that's why it's done.

  2. the crime of selling bongs

    A profession well known for it's practitioners being armed to the teeth...

    Oh, sorry, I forgot, if raw milk is dangerous enough to warrant (heh) armed raids, then hell, collections of inanimate plastic/glass objects are even worse. At least milk can't shatter into dangerous shrapnel when you indiscriminately toss grenades onto the premises.

    1. I guess manufacturing guitars is also such a profession.

  3. You'd think Obama would have purged all these holdovers from the Bush Administration by now. I'm sure he'll get right on it in his second term.

    1. Don't expect much from the vote hustler Obama.

  4. "'the DEA, Idaho National Guard, IRS and the U.S. Marshals and Attorney's offices worked on the case,' which the agencies built over the course of an entire year."

    Well, at least the fed gov has plenty of money to focus on these things.

  5. Needing some clarification here Riggs: was the date of May 10th in 2012?

    If that is the case, how exactly is BOOSH to blame for this, since he has been out of office for almost four years? Wouldn't it be a bit more honest to blame Obama here, since he is basically Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske's boss? How about Eric Holder, since U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson is basically under the auspices of the DOJ, IIANM?

    Do you have a more recent example of busting purveyors of so-called "drug paraphernalia" that would be under this admin's watch?

    1. I'm guessing he's pointing out that Obama is no different than Bush w.r.t. the War On Our Freedom.

      1. Mentioning Bush is superfluous at best, and actually, not really necessary. Bush neither claimed nor made any intimations that he would even think of ending the asinine WoD. In fact, I would argue the that His Pestilency has been even worse on this issue than his predecessor. The date of 2003 and citing Chong's case is really all that is necessary here. Focus on what this shitbag and his underlings are doing.

        1. I think it's worth pointing out Bush's indistinguishable awfulness regarding the WoD, just in case anyone reading is under the delusion that this is the most important election of our lives.

          1. People who already live under that dreadful delusion are already skewed towards prolonging that awfulness and are already conditioned to believe that THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION OF OUR LIVES! This goes for both TEAMS.

            Your point is valid, Hugh; I just don't remember Bush ever claiming Teh WoD is "over".

            1. But that's what makes it so delicious. Obama's "no more WoD" is his MISSION ACCOMPLISHED moment. The only thing he failed to do was land his fighter jet on the house of a suspected possessor of ZipLoc baggies.

            2. ^This. This. And more of this.

          2. I agree. It should always be pointed out when the two parties really have the same policies. This is also an important way to show anyone reading the article that this is not just Obama bashing. It's a way of trying to be completely honest and to try to convince those who may like Obama to rethink their position. Those of you who think Bush should not have been mentioned seem a bit partisan and also seem to have no clue as to how to, or no interest in convincing others of the truth of an argument.

        2. I read that as showing that the Big Zero is no better than BOOOOOSH!, to counter of how his apparatchiks have been out beating the drum of his huge fucking lie of how the drug war is over.

          And yes, Obama is worse. His SOP craven mendacity makes it much, much fucking worse. Piss, leg, raining.

          1. This is precisely my point, JW. Riggs should have linked to this story, instead of you doing the work for him. Every bit of legitimate scorn should be heaped on PrezBo since he's the one, I dunno, actually running for re-election and Bush isn't: The MMJ Raids; "Paraphernalia" busts; Going back on everything he posited that would not happen.

            Flopney probably won't be any better (not that I will be here), but I don't recall Flopney making any noises about claiming how the WoD will be lessened if at all under his watch. This shitbag and his underlings have.

            1. Then Riggsy and I are on the same wavelength, because I was thinking the same thing while I was reading the article. This is a page straight out of Mary Beth Buchannon's playbook. To be fair, it's probably in the US Attorney's playbook ("Publicity Whoring and Wrecking Innocent Lives for Your Own Aggrandizement in 3 Easy Steps"), but she gets due credit for that one.

              Pointing out that BOOOOOSH!!'s DOJ did something similar doesn't reduce the Zero's scumbaggery quotient one bit.

              1. Giuliani must've written that book.

            2. (not that I will be here)

              No, you're in for a whole new level of pain, depravity, and frustration where you're going. Well, at least the babes are attractive.

              I was hoping for a Gingrich presidency, what with my desire to escape the machinations of humanity by moving to the Moon, but I guess that ain't gonna happen no time soon.

          2. I'm not sure any Democrat president or congress was ever "better" than TEAM RED on drug issues.Wilson and FDR were indisputably "worse" than the opposition. Carter is the only one who comes to mind and his policy backtracking from decriminilization campaign rhetoric was of a degree greater than Obama's.

        3. I figured the point of mentioning Dubya was to point out to all the people who really do still blame everything on Bush that their Lord and Savior is no different than someone they hate with the fire of a thousand suns.

          i.e.: New boss, same as the old boss.

          PS: Dear everybody, if you really want to see the drug war end, Vote Johnson.

  6. Wrt the "tobacco water pipes" ploy, has anyone ever tried marketing, say, apples or soda cans as "marijuana pipes" to see what would happen?

    1. And they say you can't execute a corporation.

    2. IANAL but I know that would be illegal.
      Kinda the same thing as offering cigarette papers as "reefer rollers"

      1. Or those hollow glass "bud vases" as crack pipes.

    3. Nobody, least of all the cops, would take a grocer seriously if he labeled the apple bin like that. They'd just think you were making a joke in bad taste.

      1. Uh, you want to give it a try?

    4. Rich|5.20.12 @ 10:31PM|#
      "Wrt the "tobacco water pipes" ploy, has anyone ever tried marketing, say, apples or soda cans as "marijuana pipes" to see what would happen?"
      Simple. Jack-booted thugs would break down your door, shoot your dog, hand-cuff your children and, well, probably do far worse. And then claim they're 'winning' the WODs!
      And Obama would not do a thing, sorta like:

      "President Obama's endorsement of the right of gays and lesbians to marry doesn't mean he's going to join the legal challenge to California's Proposition 8."...
      "President Obama's endorsement of the right of gays and lesbians to marry doesn't mean he's going to join the legal challenge to California's Proposition 8."
      Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/.....z1vTJNq5ni

      Talk is cheap, but Obama is a REAL miser. Not to mention an asshole.

  7. My question is, why is it that my Democrat friends neighbors look at me funny when I suggest they vote in the Republican primary for Ron Paul and against Lamar Smith? They would rather vote for the Nobel peace price laureate who wakes up 12-year old girls at gunpoint "for the children".

  8. Nine of the shops were also accused of selling "spice," a synthetic alternative to the prohibited and significantly safer drug marijuana.

    Screw the risk, I'll use "spice" anyway if it can make my eyes blue.

    1. Easy GM...

      ...the movie doesn't detract from the greatness of your book.

      Besides, Sean Young was hot!

  9. Maybe it is because of our outstanding public education system that we have progressed so far:

    Luddite Teachers Union Shining Example of Public Educatian System

  10. My favorite fantasy wish now is:

    1) Ron Paul pulls a rabbit out of his hat and wins the nomination.

    2) Ron Paul becomes the President of the United States.

    3) Ron Paul proceeds to initiate a purge of government, mutilating people like this US Attorney with dull butter knives and ravaging 90% of government entities.

    4) God-awfully enormous, exceptionally terrific profit.

    1. If he is elected you better pray he picks a running mate capable of being president, because Mr Paul would be dead, inside job style, in less than a week.

    2. I think Ron Paul would be most useful as Secretary of the Treasury or Federal Reserve chairman. Now if only someone could convince Romney to do so...

  11. Well now that makes a lot of sense dude.


  12. The owner believes that the raids came at the behest of federal law enforcement officials.

    According to the Idaho Statesman, "the DEA, Idaho National Guard, IRS and the U.S. Marshals and Attorney's offices worked on the case," which the agencies built over the course of an entire year.

    I understand that sentence is a quote, but it should be pointed out that the Idaho National Guard is a state agency, not federal.

    1. The National Guard is kind of a hybrid (I was in it for 4 years). The state can call them up a foot the bill for stuff like storms and riots. The feds can call them up for stuff like wars.

      In this case, I would bet their was some negotiation and the feds are footing the bill. Not that it really matters - I bet all they did was direct traffic.

      1. For all intents and purposes, the National Guard is federal. States don't have truly sovereign forces, unfortunately.

  13. "My son screamed for his mother for what seemed like an eternity,"

    LADY, if you don't control your son dog, I swear I'm going to PUT HIM DOWN!

  14. OK, so the Feds push for the raid, yet the locals act like Nazi assholes during the raid. Who do you hate more? I can't decide.

    1. What's this about acting?

    2. They should all be forced to accept personal consequences for their aggression. If the right amount of consequence is death or severe personal injury then so be it....

      Justice must be served.

  15. The only remedy is for citizens to kill armed thugs who try to break into their homes. And take the battle to them - raid their workplaces, destroy them. An OKC every day for a few weeks and these federal cockroaches will scurry under a rock someplace, afraid to "report for duty".

    1. What is lacking J is leadership.

      We await a focused Tim McVeigh(s) who limits his collateral damage to the brownshirts. If he's sucessful, AND remains at large it could go viral and the effect would be much like that of Bernie Goetz. You'd have local, state and federal perps giving pause and (more importantly) and ever increasing effort by copycat vigilantes across the country.

      Pruning Jefferson's Tree of Liberty if you will.

      1. The book "Unintended Consequences" detailed such. So did "Enemies Foreign and Domestic."

  16. Marijuana smokers light dried plant material on fire and inhale the smoke.

    Tobacco smokers light dried plant material on fire and inhale the smoke.

    Due to the simple necessities imposed by the laws of physics, the paraphernalia for both activities will be absolutely identical.

    One activity is legal, the other is not. And the only difference between the devices used for one and the devices used for the other does not exist until the user fills the smoking device. So how can a tobacco pipe become a marijuana bong without having ever had marijuana in it?

    1. Because the government says so. Gosh, shut up.

      1. That's why they dropped it to a minor misdemeanor-not jury-trial eligible. That didn't stop the DEA from fucking up their lives over a federal charge equivalent to a speeding ticket.

  17. I have never done drugs and have no intention to ever start but these kinds of incidents are at the top of my list for why we should legalize pot. I truly believe that the Gestapo in Nazi Germany would have told the mother to collect her kids and keep them quiet. It makes me sick to my stomach to know that my tax dollars are paying the salaries of inhuman Fed-Borg like these.

  18. If Team Johnson was serious about winning, they would plaster these stories all over the place and say "This is what Obama's doing to your freedoms. And Romney's not gonna be any better. Vote Johnson."

    This is pathetic. And what's worse is that it's a broken promise from Obama. What was that about no federal interference in states' medical-MJ matters?

  19. Looking forward to the day when we will stop trying to impose our will on others!
    Liked the article

    Please show some love to reason.com


  20. The laws regarding cannabis were born on the wings of lies and pampered by propaganda such that now the tightly held belief systems are going to have to reckon with the desire of all humanity to live with dignity, free from the oppressive tyranny that ignorance and bigotry have spawned.


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