Thursday, November 19, 2009

Customs "Legally" Seize Bongs?

Okay, this is something that irks me. Now, I know I'm not a lawyer but my understanding of "Drug Paraphernalia" has always been that paraphernalia are items which are "primarily intended" to be used for the consumption; sale; or distribution of illegal drugs.

My understanding was that if I wanted to smoke tobacco or legal herbs out of a glass pipe (such as the one pictured below) I would be in the clear since the pipe only becomes "drug paraphernalia" when there is a reasonable assumption that it will be/has been used for illegal purposes.

However, since the items which were seized weren't seized in close proximity to illegal drugs and there was no reasonable assumption that they would be used for illegal purposes why were they illegally seized?

Was it because the sender marked the contents wrongly as "Christmas ornaments"? Maybe, but does that mean that if you purchased a high end diet or culinary scale from overseas and the sender marked it the package wrong it'd be "drug paraphernalia"?

It seems to me like US Customs overstepped their bounds to get some positive media coverage. "Hey look at us, we busted a huge shipment of evil glassware..." Too bad they can't stop all the cocaine and heroin from coming into the country....

It just irks me. Good one US Customs, you just ruined a lot of stoner's Christmases.

You just made Santa's Naughty List.

Last minute add-on: Wow. Normally the Feds are really bad at estimating actual value, but wow are they off on this one. They estimate the value at 2.6 million, but some of those 'bongs' would retail for more than $100 easily. According to the math. 2.6million/316,000 = $6 and some change per glass piece. Unless the shipment consisted of mostly cheap crack pipes the value is much higher. I'd say the value could be much closer to 5-10 million dollars

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