#263 Ding Dong, The Bongs Are Gone?

Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003
Subject: #263 Ding Dong, The Bongs Are Gone?


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DrugSense FOCUS Alert #263 Friday, 28 Feb 2003

Federal officials said Monday that they had shut down the biggest
paraphernalia suppliers in the United States in a series of nationwide
raids. In all, 55 people were charged with manufacture and/or
distribution of items alleged to be used for illegal purposes.
Additionally, a number of websites are being shut down by the Feds
without anyone yet being convicted of a crime in a court of law. The
DEA intends to redirect these websites to a government-sponsored site,
a chilling and Orwellian action if not challenged. What other websites
which the government views with disapproval will be next on the list?

The absurdity of using major tax dollars to fund a multi-agency effort
against these otherwise law-abiding and tax-paying businesses can
hardly be put into words. Each of us likely has our own way of
expressing the frustration felt when our federal officers carry out
such missions. This especially applies when one of the most obvious
illusions is the suggestion that these raids will make one iota of
difference on the number of illegal drugs that are regularly exchanged
and used in a country where tens of millions of people enjoy using

Of course the paraphernalia industry will rebound, smaller perhaps,
smarter and more aware of the law. After all these devices have been
used to smoke tobacco and other legal herbs throughout history. Users
can turn to the internet to find instructions on how to make their
own. Unfortunately home made paraphernalia if made of the wrong
material can increase harm. And vaporizers – which have been shown to
reduce harm because the substances are not actually burned – will be
harder to obtain.

Attorney General John Ashcroft defends the action by reminding us
that, “It’s a federal law.” Curious bystanders watch with confusion.
Why does a particular federal law have the attention of the nation’s
most powerful law officer at a time when our nation is at an elevated
risk of a terror attack?

Please use the link below to pull up an easy to use list of stories
archived at MAP that cover this story.

Thanks for your effort and support.

It’s not what others do it’s what YOU do


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Clicking the following link will bring up a list of news articles.
Those listed at the top going on down the list to the ones dated 24
Feb 2003 are, with few exceptions, appropriate targets for your
letters to the editor. Just click on the link to bring the article up,
then on the contact line for the article, and write your letter, please.




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copies of the same letter and so that the original author receives
credit for his/her work.)

Dear Editor:

While Homeland Security issues alerts varying from medium to high
danger, Attorney General John Ashcroft organizes a multi-agency effort
to crush the bong industry in America.

He suggests the paraphernalia business “has invaded the homes of
families across the country without their knowledge.” Gee, I guess
the millions of bongs and pipes just magically appeared without their
owners who made the voluntary purchase realizing what was up?

Ashcroft must be high himself if he actually believes he has reduced
the number of smoking implements in America. Does he not realize
smokers will simply turn to the millions of potters and glass-blowers
for their products, not to mention every hardware store in the country?

Much like his brethren at the NYPD, Ashcroft has learned arresting
anyone and anything related to marijuana makes for easy statistics
which help perpetuate funding for low-impact law enforcement careers
at all levels.

Respectfully submitted,


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Prepared by: Stephen Heath, Drug Policy Forum of Florida
http://www.dpffl.org Focus Alert Specialist