Friday, October 23, 2009
Bong Water Illegal in Minnesota
State Supreme Court calls it a “drug mixture.”
(See Update HERE)
The lesson is clear: If you live in Minnesota, and you happen to own a bong, be sure to pour out the water after each use.
Bong water is now officially a controlled substance in Minnesota, according to a state Supreme Court ruling last week. An Associated Press report by Steve Karnowski in the Minneapolis Star Tribune said the decision “raises the threat of longer sentences for drug smokers who fail to dump the water out of their pipes.”
The decision (PDF HERE) reverses two lower court rulings, which dropped charges in a case where a search of a Minnesota home included the discovery of a glass bong with 37 grams of liquid that tested positive for methamphetamine. Rice County authorities charged the homeowner with a first-degree drug offense for possession of a “drug mixture.”
The Minnesota Supreme Court ordered the case back to Rice County District Court prosecutors. The 4-3 decision, authored by Justice G. Barry Anderson, said that the bong water was clearly a drug “mixture” and therefore subject to state drug statutes. Anderson also wrote that a narcotics officer had alleged that drug users sometimes drink or inject bong water.
Justice Paul Anderson, writing in dissent, claimed the majority decision “borders on the absurd.” Bong water as a drug mixture carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison. However, when defined as drug paraphernalia, which is conventionally the case, the offense is a misdemeanor carrying a $300 fine and no jail time.
An attorney for the woman arrested and charged in the case said that officials were treating his client, “who had two tablespoons of bong water, as if she were a major drug wholesaler.”