More than a decade ago, the Drug Enforcement Agency operated “Operation Pipe Dreams,” which stopped all bong shops selling any type of paraphernalia online. The unsuccessful and faulty war on drugs kept Attorney General John Ashcroft vigilant on cannabis.

The operation was surely successful… Well, that is if you call squandering $12 million dollars and putting out over 2,000 law enforcement officials to arrest fifty-five people only to result in one arrest, that of Tommy Chong. It was a disgusting misallocation of government money as well as energy. However, that is not a surprise in the war on drugs that has been going on.

“The drug paraphernalia business is now accessible in anyone’s home with a computer and Internet access,” Ashcroft stated back in 2003. “And in homes across America, we know that children and young adults are the fastest growing Internet users. Quite simply, the illegal drug paraphernalia industry has invaded the homes of families across the country without their knowledge. This illegal billion-dollar industry will no longer be ignored by law enforcement.”

However, wouldn’t it be better off as a billion dollar industry? Although various states have decriminalized the drug or legalized it for medical use, drug paraphernalia is still illegal in the United States. But because of the plentifulness of head shops jumping up at a rapid rate, it is safe to say that this law is not strictly enforced.

The reason most people are able to get away with buying and selling drug paraphernalia is that it is marketed as a tobacco product. There are no ways to distinguish the two. There is no telling whether or not this law will be turned around, though, to go along with the growing cannabis industry. International manufacturers have been able to make billions off of drug paraphernalia, all money that the United States is missing out on.

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