Why Do Smoke Shops Sell Bongs?

Bong (also known as a water pipe) is a filtering system widely used to smoke cannabis, tobacco or other herbal substances. In the bong shown in the image, the gas flows from the lower port on the left to the upper port on the right.

In construction and purpose, the bong is identical to the hookah, except for smaller and more compact ones. A bong can be built from any air-and water-tight vessel by inserting a bowl and stem system (or slide) that directs air down to below the water level from where it bubbles upward (‘bubble’) during use. In order to bring fresh air into the bong and to harvest the last remaining smoke, a hole known as the “carburetor,” “carb,” “choke,” “bink,” “run,” “shotty,” “kick hole,” or simply “hole,” situated at the bottom of the bong above the water level, is first kept covered during the smoking process and then opened to allow the smoke to be drawn into the respiratory system. On bongs without such a hole, the bowl and/or the stem are removed to allow air to escape out of the hole that holds the stem.

Bongs have been used by Hmong in Laos and Thailand, as well as in Africa, for decades. One of the earliest known uses of the word in the West is the McFarland Thai-English Dictionary, published in 1944, which defines one of the definitions of bong in the Thai language as “bamboo water pipe for smoking kancha, tree, hashish, or hemp-plant.” The term was also used in the January 1971 issue of the Marijuana Review.

Legal Issues

In the United States, under the Federal Drug Paraphernalia Law, which is part of the Controlled Drugs Act, it is illegal to sell, transport by mail, transport across national lines, import or export drug paraphernalia.

In countries where marijuana and hashish are illegal, some dealers point out that bongs are intended for cigarette use in an effort to bypass the laws against the sale of drug paraphernalia. Although legally ‘bong’ does not mean that a device used for smoking is primarily cannabis, drug-related connotations have been established with the word itself (in part because of the Sanskrit bhangah “hemp”). Thus, out of fear of the law, many headshops will not serve customers who use the term “bong” or “bongs” or any other term commonly associated with illicit drug use.

Some Bong brand name producers (notably RooR) have tried to curb the counterfeit market for their products by suing stores suspected of selling counterfeit goods.

If Drug Paraphernalia is Illegal, how do Head Shops Legally Operate?

The simple reason is that head shops do not necessarily sell drug paraphernalia. They sell water pipes, glass tobacco novelty pipes and tiny plastic jewelry bags. That is why all head shops have stringent rules preventing staff and customers from referring to illegal substances. Head shops could legally sell these products during the Marijuana Prohibition period for the same purpose that it was perfectly legal to buy and sell wine glasses and beer mugs during America’s failed Alcohol Prohibition experiment. You may use wine glasses for grape juice, use beer mugs for root beer floats, and use a tobacco smoking kit.

Things sold in the headshops become drug paraphernalia only after people exit the store and hire them illegally. Pursuant to 35 P.C.S.A. § 780-113(a)(32) of the Pennsylvania Drug Device and Cosmetic Act, drug paraphernalia is classified as a device for planting, propagating, cultivating, developing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, producing, refining, refining, measuring, packing, repackaging, storing, possessing, concealing, injecting, inhaling or otherwise introducing a controlled substance into the human body. Thus, the products do not actually become “drug paraphernalia” unless and unless there is some tangible evidence that one has intended to use the object in a way that breaches the Drug Device and Cosmetic Act. This tangible evidence is typically the existence of illicit substances with paraphernalia or THC laced resin on smoking devices.

Where is the Best Smoke Shop Near Me?

When it comes to purchasing quality tobacco and nicotine products that are safe, long-lasting and effective, you always want to make sure the products you are receiving come from a reputable source like Mary Jane’s CBD Dispensary. The main reason for picking products like ours is to ensure you only get the best quality tobacco products and never receive any ineffective and/or potentially harmful products.  With locations across several states to serve you, and our convenient online store, when you shop with Mary Jane’s you know you will only get the best nicotine products on the market today.

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