Minnesota Court Rules Bong Water Illegal

Bong water can count as a controlled substance, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a decision that raises the threat of longer sentences for drug smokers who fail to dump the water out of their pipes.

In a 4-3 decision Thursday, the state’s highest court said a person can be prosecuted for a first-degree drug crime for 25 grams or more of bong water that tests positive for a controlled substance.

The decision, which reverses two lower court rulings, came in the case of Sara Peck. Items seized during a search of her Rice County home in 2007 included a glass bong — a type of water pipe often used to smoke drugs — that contained 37 grams — about 2 1/2 tablespoons — of a liquid that tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine.

The Supreme Court said that unambiguously counts as a drug “mixture” under the wording of state law and sent the case back to Rice County District Court for further proceedings. The decision, authored by Justice G. Barry Anderson, noted that the liquid wasn’t plain clear water, but had a pink color and fruity odor, and that a narcotics officer had testified that drug users sometimes keep bong water to drink or inject later.

The statute defines a drug “mixture” as “a preparation, compound, mixture, or substance containing a controlled substance, regardless of purity.” When the language of a statute is unambiguous, the high court said, precedents prohibit courts from disregarding the letter of the law under the pretext of pursuing the letter of the law.

In a sharply worded dissent, Justice Paul Anderson said the majority’s decision “does not make sense, and borders on the absurd.” He said it isn’t consistent with what the Legislature intended when it wrote the state’s drug laws. And he blasted Rice County authorities for charging Peck with such a serious crime.

If bong water is considered a drug mixture, and it weighs enough to raise the crime to a first-degree drug offense, the presumed sentence for a first-time offender is seven years and two months in prison, and a felony drug offense goes on his or her record, Paul Anderson wrote.

But if the bong water is treated as part of the drug paraphernalia, as the lower courts held, he wrote, the same defendant would face no more than a $300 fine and the petty misdemeanor conviction would not go on his or her record.

Justices Alan Page and Helen Meyer joined in Paul Anderson’s dissent.

Attorney Bradford Delapena, who represents Peck, said he had not yet had a chance to discuss the ruling with her, but he said the dissent correctly pointed out the problems the ruling raises.

“They’re treating Ms. Peck, who had two tablespoons of bong water, as if she were a major drug wholesaler,” he said.

Delapena said Peck’s case now goes back to the trial court, where he said prosecutors could use the ruling to try to extract a guilty plea to a more serious offense with a stiffer sentence than a $300 fine on a petty misdemeanor. He laughed at the suggestion that it means dope smokers should empty their bongs promptly.

“I wouldn’t presume to draw that lesson,” he said. “I would just stick with the legal lessons.”

– Article from FOX News.


Minn. court: Bong water can count as illegal drug

MINNEAPOLIS — In Minnesota, bong water can count as an illegal drug.

That decision from Minnesota’s Supreme Court on Thursday raises the threat of longer sentences for drug smokers in that state who fail to dump the water out of bong — a type of water pipe often used to smoke drugs

The court said a person can be prosecuted for a first-degree drug crime for 25 grams or more of bong water that tests positive for a controlled substance.

Lower courts had held that bong water is drug paraphernalia. Possession of that is a misdemeanor crime.

The case involved a woman whose bong had about 2 1/2 tablespoons of liquid that tested positive for methamphetamine. A narcotics officer had testified that drug users sometimes keep bong water to drink or inject later.

– Article from the Associated Press.

Comments

35 Comments

  1. Anonymous on

    “A narcotics officer had testified that drug users sometimes keep bong water to drink or inject later.”

    ROFL HAHAHAHAHAHA PLEASE TELL ME HES NOT SERIOUS!!!!!!!

  2. greg williams on

    Caffeine killed almost 10,000 Americans last year.
    We just had several Yale Professors get very sick from the chemicals they add to coffee in order to preserve it.

    non-ending wars dont scare america these days. What scares America these days is bongwater.

  3. pfarthing6 on

    Sure, a few pot heads won’t make a difference. But how about a million pot heads?

    If we want to take on these bigots (and they are, just like they once were openly for women, non-white, and GLBT folks) then we have to do what those people did back in the day, what they are still doing, to take their rights back: organize, protest, sacrifice, and do so in FREAKING HUGE NUMBERS!

    The suffragettes took it to the streets and got in peoples faces. Members of the black community openly disobeyed the Jim Crow laws. The GLBT community holds regular parades and has even got many corporations and government agencies to make their employees take “sensitivity” training.

    There just have to be at least as many pot heads out there as there are GLBT’s! WTF is wrong with us then?

    We’re closer now than ever. But people gotta come out of their smoke filled closets, come out to their family and friends. If women, blacks, and GLBT can show off their solidarity with pins, ribbons, t-shirts, and the like, then so should we!

    If we really want the discrimination to end, then we have to follow in the footsteps of those who have succeeded for themselves. There are plenty of examples.

    And we need to understand that we are fighting DISCRIMINATION, not morality.

    Be PISSED OFF about it! And like those who have taken back their rights, they did so without the use of guns and undue violence. So must we.

    We cannot defeat the system with shotguns. But we can defeat it with Democracy!

  4. dan-o on

    Cannabis is not physically addictive, only psychologically(like video games). Meth, heroin, crack and coke are all physically addictive and due to that alone they destroy otherwise good people. Their addictive natures lead many to crime(sometimes violent) in order to get their supply. How ofetn do you hear of a cannabis user committing violent crime to get his next joint? You don’t. Therefore I believe that cannabis should be legal, and meth and the rest should continue to be prohibited. I guess I’m just a prohibitionist at heart :)

  5. Roland on

    I have to disagree with your statement. You’ve been fed too much propaganda. See “Intoxication” by Ronald K. Siegel, PhD., pgs.308ff. “Peggy Sue went square dancing. She was 73… She was wheelchair-bound with arthritis, until she was given Esterene, a trade-name for CRACK!” Remember, the thing with all drugs is dosage, set, and setting. You can abuse almost anything. That doesn’t mean it’s evil. The evil lies in ourselves, not our drugs.

  6. one12alpha on

    I agree that meth is a horrible horrible substance. I, too am from Arizona, and have seen its horrors in friends. I was first exposed to meth by the same people selling me cannabis, as were my friends.

    The problem is, that incarceration is not an effective deterrent for drug use. We face incarceration every time we buy a bag, take a toke, or grow our own…yet we continue to do what we do. Education of the facts would be more effective. Of course the facts regarding cannabis don’t seem all that detrimental in contrast to other substances of abuse, that is the point you’ve already made. But when we teach lies about cannabis, what credit can be given to the information about any other drug? Ultimately, the short cut to all drug education is, “its bad, because its illegal.” Taking short cuts in education is what leads us to need legislation to protect us from our selves. We should be smart enough to know better. We should be paying enough attention to our children to know when they are dabbling in dangerous territory. But we leave that up to the government to do. To tell us when something is bad, what we should or should not put into our bodies, what we should teach our children. If your okay with that, then you should be okay with the legislation that makes cannabis illegal as well.

    The fact is, no one should be able to take your right to ingest cannabis, nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, or, yes, even meth… like wise, it is up to you to deal with the consequences of them, however beneficial or detrimental they may be. I’ve seen stories quite similar to yours, using meth, only the substance was alcohol. Should that justify the prohibition of alcohol? We tried that route, the out come was very much the same as the prohibition of any other drug. Money, and lives wasted. Substance abuse, and the problems it causes, gone ignored or treated with imprisonment….

    Do I think meth should be legal? Yes. Do I think it should be easily available? No, in short. But I don’t think incarceration is the right answer to its use. If it were legally available to adults, it would be less likely available to teens and kids. When was the last time you saw someone dealing cigarettes? It seems to me there are fewer children smoking cigarettes and drinking than smoking cannabis…that should be a testament to the legislation enough.

  7. Anonymous on

    pussy huh? ok well keep in mind that the people you are talking about were responsible for Wako and Ruby Ridge. Violence (much like name calling)is a tool of the ignorant.

  8. Whant-Whant.............. on

    If Marc Emery went before this judge,HE WOULD HAVE GIVEN HIM A LONGER SENTENCE because he knows an a$$hole when he sees one.

  9. Anonymous on

    One of the worst things in NZ with meth is its addictiveness aswell as its price $100 for 0.1 grams, or over $600 per gram.But in this case it sounds like it was a bottle of nasal spray emptied into the bong for some reason, in which case the water wouldn’t actually contain meth but rather ephidrine, a substance which could be converted into meth, by a process of knocking an oxygen molecule off it, therefor showing how similar it is, and could have possibly been put there thinking the nasal spray would vaporise and help to keep the airways clear, while smoking on the bong. This suggestion is a little weird, considering the fact that it won’t vaporise, being water based, although could be very possible, when you consider many young peoples lack of thought about the logic when doing things.

  10. Anonymous on

    Do people smoke meth through a water pipe? Wouldn’t that be ineffective? I could see someone trying it mixed in a bowl like “coco puffs”, but do meth users really use water pipes regularly?

  11. Mr Skunk on

    Don’t be a pussy. remember a hand full of farmers kicked British ass so we could be so called free people

  12. I-HUNT-TWEEKERS on

    Trust me bro that’s not the way to go, I live in Arizona the meth capital of the U.S. and am actually a recovering Meth Addict I won’t go into the particulars except to tell you that Meth stole everything from me, my home, my car, my fiance,my son, my family,and 8 yrs. of my life. The only reason I’m on this site today is because of Cannabis, it literally saved my life helped to take away the cravings for the meth and helped with the physical withdrawls,without Cannabis I would be dead or in prison,now six years after starting my own Cannabis treatment I am glad to say that I use Cannabis in my everyday life and will continue to use it till the day the close the lid.Cannabis Saves Lives,Meth Destroys Them.

    P.S. FUCK FUCK FUCK METH!!!

  13. Anonymous on

    This Is terrible!

  14. Anonymous on

    The test of any law in a modern society is how much responsibility does the offense put on society to enforce, when the victim is the perpetrator? It is illegal to commit suicide, but not enforceable if you are successful at killing yourself! The punishment if you are not successful is some form of evaluation. Should in the perpetrating victim of a controlled substance be the responsibility of society for 7 years, or does the deciding vote in the this own shares in the Minnesota Prison System? Thus making any decision rendered that would result in any incarceration, a conflict of interest?

  15. Dan-o on

    I have to strongly disagree with you on legalization of drugs other than cannabis. Cannabis has too many uses and applications while meth and crack etc. just cause trouble for addicts,their neighbors and society in general. I could bore you with many horror stories about hard drug use in my neighborhood.

  16. Devil's Advocate on

    Don’t be an idiot, these guys take down bike gangs, mafia dons, and serial killers…they will have NO problem with a few potheads.

  17. Anonymous on

    think the DEA will try to use this as a precedent for doing the same to cannabis water pipes? I’d bet on it.

  18. Interested Observer on

    Maybe, to help differentiate it from plain old bong water, meth water should have a different name. Something like “mong water”.

    Here in Oz, “mong” is slang for idiot so, it seems to fit nicely as a better description for what the woman in the story had in her bong. It also fits considering the “testimony” that users will keep their water for later injection. Only a true “mong” would do that.

    As for drinking bong water, I’ve seen it done but usually the person will only do it once and they usually vomit afterwards. It doesn’t get you high and it ain’t pleasant; it certainly isn’t common practice. But the cops know that, they’re just saying it to make dope smokers seem like low-life desperados – something they like to do a lot.

  19. one12alpha on

    I realize the specific case in the story is more in relation to meth. But the legal system is black and white…smoking paraphernalia is smoking paraphernalia. Bong water is bong water… “the statute defines a drug ‘mixture’ as ‘a preparation, compound, mixture, or substance containing a controlled substance, regardless of purity.” THC is a controlled substance and ANY amount of THC in ANY amount of water would qualify as a very impure preparation, but a “mixture” no less. It would be a shame to receive such harsh penalties for about the amount of water in a melted ice cube, regardless of the controlled substance. We should have come to the realization, by now, that incarceration and institutionalization is a poor choice for rehabilitation, or restitution to society where deemed necessary by jury. I feel it border lines on cruel, not unusual, punishment on the grounds that the penalty does not fit the crime. Then there’s the fact that I disagree with the situation, in general, being a crime. There needs to be some change some where in all this…decriminalization would be ok, maybe. But legalization is seemingly the better answer, even for meth.

  20. Anonymous on

    what the hell, i live in minnesota & what now all the pot smokers here and being punished because of some stupid meth head!?

    & who the hell drinks or injects nasty ass bong water

  21. Anonymous on

    Bong water isn’t a drug.

    “..narcotics officer had testified that drug users sometimes keep bong water to drink or inject later.”
    Personally I’ve never heard of anyone drinking or (LOL) injecting bong water, and I highly doubt that said officer has either. Though to be fair, he might have read about it in some DEA literature (read: propaganda).

  22. Anonymous on

    Actually I’ve known a few people who’ve admitted drinking bong water and I’ve even seen it myself once at a party.
    I agree, absolutley fucking disgusting.

    However more importantly the water itself only contains minute traces of THC due to its water insolubility, but the condensate on the bong and in the water (as particles)contains large amounts of THC. In fact up to around 40% of FRESH smoke condensate is THC, the rest being mainly a complex mix of hydrocarbons derived from combustion.

    Sadly the facts that some ignorami do swallow bong water (albeit they’re hard to find) and that even filtered bong water (to remove the particles) does contain detectable amounts of THC would make it still illegal under this Minnesota law.
    This is of course even though in levels of THC in bong water would require huge amounts to be drunk to get any effect (way more than a bongs worth) and that even the most ignorant pot deprived high school kid wouldn’t buy bong water unless a gun was pointed at their head!

  23. Brad in Oz on

    I’m not about to dispute your memory, but as to the “facts” regarding a meth related overdose dose from drinking the water – I’m highly skeptical to say the least.

    Firstly such a desparate individual was most likely a regular poly-drug user (inc meth) which means he/she would have had a substantial tolerance to meth (occurs instantly & rapidly grows), which substantially reduces the chance of an overdose.

    Secondly if the deceased was a regular (chronic) user of meth it is quite possible that they died as a result of a heart attack or stroke brought on by a combination of substantial malnutrition (inc vitamin & mineral imbalances) and/or sustained high blood pressure and/or sustained excess workload on the heart and/or promotion (via chronic use) of heartbeat irregularities.
    Note that these are cause/contributors of death, but are not necessarily related to an overdose; which is exactly what it seems – an excessive dose resulting in side effects (sometimes including death). The media RARELY gets this one right, since the just don’t give a shit and want to sell another drug death story rather than the truth.

    Lastly d-methamphetamine hysteria has in recent years reached the level that crack cocaine reached a few decades earlier; that is one hit and you’re addicted if you survive without overdosing.
    Now, while cocaine’s ED50 (effective dose for 50% animals) to LD50 (lethal dose for 50% animals) is admittedly quite low for a drug of “abuse”, methamphetamine (& amphetamine for that matter) is realistically in an overdose sense VERY SAFE (assuming the prohibition induced garbage impurities don’t kill you).
    In fact since the drug is so old, huge amounts of both case studies of “overdose” and/or death as well as animal toxicological studies are available. Just look up an pharmacopeia (drug manual) to find estimates of lethal doses in humans (they can’t line up people to see what kills 50%). Anyway here’s just two examples to prove my point:

    Forensic Science International
    Volume 153, Issue 1 , 4 October 2005, Pages 93-97
    Methamphetamine in hair and interpretation of forensic findings in a fatal case
    “…The femoral blood level of methamphetamine was 1500 ng/ml. It was documented by a witness that the 31-year-old man died within 1 h after an intravenous injection of the drug. The cause of death was established as cerebral edema due to cerebellar bleeding shortly after an intravenous dose of methamphetamine.Findings of methamphetamine in the first three 2-cm hair segments (numbered from the roots) were nearly equal (132 ± 9 ng/mg). In the fourth 2-cm segment, it was approximately one-half of previous values. In the remaining, distal 7-cm hair segment sample, the value of methamphetamine was higher and comparable to the third segment. These results provide clear evidence that the man had been a chronic methamphetamine abuser for more than 8 months…”
    Note that that blood level is moderately high, but that’s not surprising considering it wasn’t too long after shooting up and that the person died from a stroke suggested by the article to have been promoted (in combination with his genes, diet, exercise etc) from chronic meth use i.e. he did not die from an overdose, even though the media would report it that way.

    NOW THE OPPOSITE SID OF THE COIN FROM WHO ELSE BUT THAT GOD DAMN LIVING LEGEND ALEXANDER T. SHULGIN (read PIHKAL & TIHKAL):

    J Psychoactive Drugs. 2001 Oct-Dec;33(4):409-12.
    Overdose of 2.3 grams of intravenous methamphetamine: case, analysis and patient perspective.
    “The patient-reported toxicity of an overdose of intravenous methamphetamine is described. The authors report the case of a 34-year old man who inadvertently injected himself with approximately 2.3 grams of methamphetamine. The patient reported disorientation, hallucinations, hyperthermia, photophobia, orthostasis and extreme ataxia. He recovered in seven days without apparent sequelae. The case demonstrates the unusual, temporary neurophysiologic consequences of high-dose intravenous methamphetamine.”
    Note that he survived an IV dose that’s probably around 46 times the full dose an average meth IV user shoots (probably ~50mg powder). This’s a good example of the huge tolerance users rapidly get to meth!

    Now don’t get me wrong d-methamphetamine CAN BE a life destroying drug, which CAN screw with peoples dopaminergic system (resulting in psychosis) and DOES KILL people…BUT the same drug improves EVERYONES concentration and memory in small doses, including thousands of USA kiddies – YES the EVIL CRYSTAL METH is given to kids (I guarantee you it was cystalline before the pharmaceutical companies put it into their pills and ALL d-meth is the same when it dissolves into your water based body – whether smoked from a “meth” pipe or swallowed as a pill).
    I should add that I’m not against prescibing it to kids with ADD, BUT I agree totally with a world leading expert in the field whi stated “I believe that in the treatment of apparent ADD and ADHD in children in the USA with stimulants, both over and over prescibing is occuring; that is many children are being prescribed stimulants who shouldn’t be and conversly many children who could benefit from stimulants are not prescribed them.”

    Kinda reminds me of cannabis, since both meth and THC:
    -have effects which substantially improve some peoples lives
    -have little addiction potential in one person, but a large potential in the next
    -induce psychosis in some people (meth will do this in 100% of people, BUT ONLY with escalating chronic dosing), but the majority of people get no problems from non-chronic use

  24. Anonymous on

    I live in Minnesota. Alan Page, by the way who was one of the justices who dissented with the ruling is a former Minnesota Vikings. He was part of the famous Vikings defense aka Purple People Eaters.

    Anyway, thanks for the clarity above regarding meth users drinking their bong water. Very stupid thing to do by the way. I have no sympathy for meth heads. It’s a really stupid drug to play with.

    Eventually I’m sure another case will come up when a pot smoker has his bong confiscated and he successfully takes his case to the supreme court and proves that cannabis users do not drink bong water. Can you imagine how disgusting that would be?

    The drug war hysteria continues.

  25. Mr Skunk on

    as I take hits from da bong. lets give them a war if they want it we have taken this shit long enough time to fight back

  26. Mr Skunk on

    go to hell Minnesota we are going to do Bongs no matter what you say or do. time to fight back people any way you see fit

  27. Anonymous on

    You mean the bullies appealed this all the way to the Supreme Court? You mean there wasn’t one rational person among them? Wow!

  28. Anon on

    I want to add… if you’re prepared to inject bong water, why didn’t you just inject the drug?

    If she’s not scared of getting tracks and advancing her addiction, why is she wasting her meth in a bong? A needle is supposed to make a user’s dope more efficient and last longer (whether in your brain or in the bag)… by the way, don’t interact directly with your bloodstream, folks, no matter what you use – your mind becomes a machine when you treat your body like one.

    but if she wants to inject ANYTHING, she wouldn’t have wasted dope money on the glass bong.

  29. Anon on

    “and that a narcotics officer had testified…”

    YOU CAN FINISH THAT SENTENCE WITH F***ING ANYTHING…

    THEY’VE SAID IT ALL!

    Also I thought it was funny that the first poster picked that out first, too.

  30. 420Trucker on

    Damn Skippy!

  31. Anonymous on

    This article uses extremely confused terminology – that’s not bong water involved in this case! I saw a similar case a little while back where a young meth user stole another user’s water pipe and drank the water in it, resulting in an overdose death. Don’t remember what they called the water, morb water or something like that, but apparently meth users drink the water in their pipes to get high when they have nothing. This is NOT something cannabis users do, and while it may rather asinine to charge the woman with such a serious offense over what amounts to waste water, the association of this to cannabis bong water is completely irresponsible. This case could well be overturned simply for being too vague; it only makes sense to consider something a “drug mixture” if it could reasonably be ingested and/or sold as a drug. Maybe meth water would fall under this definition, but certainly not bong water.

  32. one12alpha on

    Who the F injects bong water? That has got to be the most ridiculous claim ever… I don’t doubt that maybe some people have, people tend to do stupid things from time to time. But I seriously doubt that injecting bong water is common practice. Further more, who would buy bong water for that specific purpose? Based on the word of the law, “a preparation, compound, mixture, or substance containing a controlled substance, regardless of purity”, your blood is illegal after you consume a controlled substance. So remember to drain your veins after you smoke…after you empty your bong obviously.

    I love seeing this type of news. The more the courts and police operate in the realm of absurdity, the more people see just how ridiculous the legislation is to start with. Keep up the great work justices…there are plenty of unemployed who would love your job.