Civics 101: You Can Own a Crack Pipe, You Just Can't Use It


Thomas O'Meara was arrested last year with a tin of pot and a pipe to smoke it. He was picked up in Jefferson County, a rural swath across the northern Olympic Peninsula. The state charged him with marijuana possession as well as violation of a state law that prohibits the use of drug paraphernalia. He copped to the possession charge, but requested that the use count be thrown out. The trial court agreed noting that the state presented no evidence that O'Meara was under the influence of anything, which would indicate he had been using said pipe. The state appealed.

The appellate court overturned the trial court today saying that the existence of pot residue in the pipe, as well as a plastic bag and tin, were enough to at least leave open the possibility he had used said paraphernalia, in which case the charge should be settled by a jury, not dismissed by a judge. The lesson here: it's perfectly fine to go buy a three foot bong, but you can't use it. So if you do, and I'm certainly not advocating that, dig out the residue. Cleanliness is next to godliness after all and it can save you from drug-related charges.

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