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N Cal Attorney
N Cal Attorney, Lawyer
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Experience:  Since 1983
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To which states is it illegal to sell/ship glass tobacco

Customer Question

To which states is it illegal to sell/ship glass "tobacco" pipes? What precautions taken will protect me from prosecution under state and/or federal law if I were to sell glass tobacco pipes and ship them across state lines? I am in California.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 5 years ago.
Tobacco pipes are legal in every state.

Drug paraphernalia is illegal in every state.

A piece of aluminum foil can be charged as possession of paraphernalia. A pipe made out of an apple or a potato can be charged as drug paraphernalia.

There is no bright line that distinguishes a tobacco pipe from a pot pipe. I would make sure that your advertising specifies the pipes are only for tobacco, but nothing can prevent you from being charged with distributing paraphernalia.

I would not sell any pipes so small as to be impractical for tobacco. As the oldest head shop in Berkeley has stated, we sell small pipes, we do not sell hash pipes.

It is a risky business, as Tommy Chong learned.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Other than the obvious stating "for tobacco use only," what precautions can I make to protect myself?

You mention "I would not sell any pipes so small as to be impractical for tobacco. As the oldest head shop in Berkeley has stated, we sell small pipes, we do not sell hash pipes." What would constitute being so small as to be impractical for tobacco (possibly an example which I could read further into)?

Also, would selling a pipe that has a second hole, or "carb," be an excessive risk in and of itself?

From my original question, however, there seems to be something different about laws in Pennsylvania and Iowa. What makes them stand out?
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 5 years ago.
Also, would selling a pipe that has a second hole, or "carb," be an excessive risk in and of itself?
If that feature is never found in tobacco pipes but is found in pot pipes then there is a strong argument that a pipe with a carb is paraphernalia.

Can you cite me to the Iowa and Pennsylvania statutes you referred to?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Well some pipe websites will not sell to Iowa or Penn...and Penn is the state for which Tommy Chong was arrested for shipping to.

Here are all the state statutes I have:
http://www.prisontalk.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-166147.html
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 5 years ago.
The Chong case began in PA but Tommy was charged and convicted in Federal court, see http://www.post-gazette.com/localnews/20030912chong0912p5.asp

The link you posted says
863(d)(3) carburetion tubes and devices;
so any pipe with a carb is considered drug paraphernalia under federal law.

The only surefire way to avoid the risk of arrest would be to not get into this business.

Even limiting sales to medical marijuana dispensaries in States that have medical marijuana laws is no guarantee you would not be prosecuted. Federal law does not recognize medical marijuana, and there is no way to predict what the Feds will do even if you do your best to comply with State law. See http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/182/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=27779

Even in States that allow medical use, this is a grey area and I have to advise you to find another business rather than risk arrest and prosecution.

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