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Pipe Sales Still Proving Strong

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Despite efforts from the White House and the Drug Enforcement
Administration to rid America's cities of marijuana paraphernalia, a
few of Madison's head shops continue to sell handcrafted glass pipes.

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft ignited a nationwide crackdown on
the selling of these items in stores and through Internet purchases in
the early months of this year when he, in a news conference to
announce his intentions, condemned the paraphernalia business as a
billion-dollar industry that exploits youth culture.

Although Ashcroft pushed for a nationwide operation, Jeanne Hehr,
resident agent in charge of the DEA office in Madison, said nothing
has happened federally in Madison. She noted that the push late last
year for the reduction of paraphernalia sales stemmed from the state
and groups such as the Dane County Narcotics Task Force. She also said
that currently the DEA in Madison is not focusing much attention on
this topic.

"We're a small office here," Hehr said. "We focused our investigations
on other timely things."

However, even with a lack of federal attention, in the late days of
April and early weeks of May 2003, University of Wisconsin students
and Madisonites alike saw shops such as Knuckleheads, Sunshine
Daydream and The Pipefitter, Ltd. put much of their merchandise on
sale and cut back significantly on the selling of paraphernalia.

Head shops and manufacturers have been producing and selling in a
legal "gray area" of sorts, claiming no knowledge of the buyer's
intent and selling these pipes for use with tobacco products by
labeling the cases "for tobacco use only."

Knuckleheads on State Street has stopped selling water pipes
altogether and attributes the reason to Dane County law. However,
wooden devices are still available.

"We do not sell water pipes ... Dane County law!" reads a small sign
taped to the glass of a display case in Knuckleheads.

However, Sunshine Daydream, also located on State Street, continues to
sell pipes. UW senior and Sunshine Daydream employee Eva Denny said
the store's pipe-selling policies have not been affected.

"There have been no changes here," Denny said. "We haven't moved the

Denny also said that the store continues to sell around the same
amount of merchandise.

"We are a stable seller," Denny said. She noted that because
Knuckleheads does not sell any more, Sunshine Daydream's business has
remained steady.

Although Sunshine Daydream continues to sell their full merchandise of
pipes on State, The Pipefitter, Ltd. has cut back significantly.
However, manager Alexa Nichols said the owners decided to do this
before the sale began in April and the state pushes began. Nichols
said the owners decided to cut back because they are retiring and it
is difficult to maintain both sides of the store. They had intended to
begin the sale this past summer, but when other stores began putting
merchandise on sale for various reasons, they decided it would be a
valid time to do so.

"When the sales hit around May at Knuckleheads, they decided to put
things on sale here," Nichols said.

Pubdate: Thu, 16 Oct 2003
Source: Badger Herald (Edu, Madison, WI)
Copyright: 2003 Badger Herald
Contact: editor@badgerherald.com
Website: The Badger Herald · UW-Madison's Premier Independent Student Newspaper