POTSDAM - Drug Enforcement Agency visits to two village stores were
designed to inform the owners of those businesses that they were
unwittingly breaking federal law.

Lyle Furnace, owner of Happy Daze, 8 Elm St. and Jayne E. Davis, owner
of The Wild Rose, 47 Market St., were told by a U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration officer they could not sell items such as hand-blown
glass pipes.

Neither was charged and no merchandise was confiscated. Both stores
continue to operate but without the smoking accessories.

"A Lot of people are not familiar with the law. A lot of them are
legitimate businesses that don't know. It's a fact finding mission,
providing facts to the people," said William Hebert of the DEA Albany
office.

A third store was said to be included in the visits, but neither Mr.
Hebert or St. Lawrence County Sheriff Gary J. Jarvis would confirm it.
The DEA officer was accompanied to the stores by members of the county
Drug Task Force.

Ms. Davis said she did not know what was considered illegal. She has
owned Wild Rose for seven years and sold pipes for five.

Mr. Furnace would not comment on the visit.

A federal statute defines drug paraphernalia as "any equipment,
product or material of any kind which is primarily intended or
designed for use in manufacturing, compounding, convert, concealing,
producing, processing, preparing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or
otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance,
possession of which is unlawful."

Listed examples include water pipes, air-driven pipes and wired
cigarette papers.

Things that can be considered to determine whether an item is
paraphernalia include instructions provided with the product,
advertising and whether the owner is a legitiment supplier to the community.

Both Happy Daze and The Wild Rose are members of the Potsdam Chamber
of Commerce and had signs saying their products were for tobacco use
only.

Mr. Hebert would not say why the village stores were visited while
others may not have been. He said the DEA visit was part of an on
going investigation.

DEA has recently cracked down on smoking-accessory stores and
distributors.

The most notorious recent case was the arrest and May conviction of
Tommy Chong of the comedy duo Cheech and Chong. Mr. Chong pleaded
guilty in federal court to conspiring to sell drug paraphernalia. He
also pleaded guilty on behalf of his business, Nice Dreams
Enterprises, which made a line of marijuana bongs and pipes.

Mr. Chong acknowledged his pipes were used to smoke marijuana.


Pubdate: Wed, 29 Oct 2003
Source: Watertown Daily Times (NY)
Copyright: 2003 Watertown Daily Times
Contact: letters@wdt.net
Website: http://www.wdt.net