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Are Glass Bongs Illegal?

13 October 2017

With new laws regarding marijuana passed in recent years, it is difficult to know what is legal and what is not legal, especially in regards to instruments used to smoke marijuana. Though there are several different apparatuses to consume marijuana, glass bongs are a common one of these instruments. In regards to if glass bongs are legal, in short, glass bongs are legal to have and carry if they are not used for illegal substances.

Many smoke or other shops that sell glass bongs have the disclaimer that these bongs are for tobacco use only to get around laws. Glass bongs, however, are commonly known to be used to smoke marijuana, and although many states have legalized marijuana, it is still illegal on the federal level to have, use, and sell marijuana. Not only is marijuana illegal on a federal level, drug paraphernalia is also illegal. Drug paraphernalia are considered to be anything that is used to make, hide, or consume illegal drugs, and federal law states specifically that one cannot sell, import or export, and distribute drug paraphernalia. Technically, therefore, someone can be arrested for the possession of drug paraphernalia, and this includes glass bongs.

Typically, however, most people who have glass bongs will get in trouble for having them with illegal drug residue. Since there is a fine line between legal instruments—like the bongs sold for “tobacco use only”—and illegal equipment used for drugs, a clean glass bong with no illegal drug residue could be deemed legal, but it depends on the situation. Those enforcing the law may consider the other factors and circumstantial evidence to determine if the piece of equipment in question is considered drug paraphernalia. Each case is different, so it is important to be aware of specific state laws regarding drug use because, like stated above, many states have legalized marijuana with different stipulations. In addition, different states also can have slightly different laws against drug paraphernalia.

When carrying a glass bond, besides paying attention to any illegal drug residue that may be present on the equipment, be especially cognizant of where you are traveling with it. Citizens must abide by the laws of the state they are in, so crossing state lines with a glass bong into a state where marijuana is still not legal may hold greater consequences than crossing into a state where it is legal. Furthermore, if traveling by air, the Transportation Security Administration can report drug paraphernalia to the local and relevant authorities. Though TSA does not actively look for drugs or drug paraphernalia, it can still cause problems for the owner if they do find something on their routine searches.

Overall, the legality of glass bongs and the consequences of possessing them depend on where the owner is and if there is drug residue on the bong. When in states that still classify marijuana as illegal, drug-free bongs will be easier to claim that they are used for the legal use of tobacco than those with drug residue.

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