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December 11, 2007


The dx4 vaporizer gun is the latest casualty in the war on drugs. The dx 4, like other vaporisers, can be used to  smoke tobacco, and it's especially favoured for use with flavoured tobaccos, rather like those smoked in hookah pipes. As hookah smoking is gaining in popularity, so are vaporizers like the dx4.

OK, so far so good. But the problem is that the dx4 and similar vaporisers also can be used to smoke illegal substances, like marijuana or hashish. They are thus "dual use" items in the technical jargon. And this is where the controversy over things like the dx4 comes in.

If someone buys a vaporiser to smoke tobacco, this is clearly legal, both to buy and to sell. If someone buys it to smoke pot, well, it's the smoking of the pot that's illegal, but is the selling of the equipment to enable them to do so also illegal?

Currently the law is a little confused. If it's knowingly sold for pot smoking, yes, illegal. But what if the buyer lies about why they want a dx4?

Ontario Police Chief Mike Kee said Tuesday he hopes to force what he asserts to be a downtown drug paraphernalia shop, Old School, to operate within the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) by filing a civil complaint in Malheur County Circuit Court.

“Where we would like to get is to a point where what she’s doing is authorized by the law” he said. “It’s all I can do.”

The owner of Old School and the defendant in the complaint, Victoria Miller, said she has always operated within the law. And, she said, she thinks of her business as a tobacco accessory and art shop, not one that sells drug paraphernalia.

“I sell nothing illegal,” Miller said. “I don’t understand this. I have done nothing illegal. Everything I sell here is for tobacco use only.”

The difference of opinion may boil down to a few key words in the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS). The civil complaint asserts Miller sold, delivered and possessed with intent to sell numerous products constituting drug paraphernalia.

And that's what the problem is all about: how do you determine intent when someone buys a legal product? As to why someone might want a vaporiser like the dx4, here it is:

Vaporizer guns are increasingly popular among people who want to smoke but don't want the toxic by-products from the burning plant. A vaporizer gun may be used to smoke tobacco or any number of herbs or plants, including marijuana. With alternative medicine attracting more and more followers, a vaporizer or vaporizer gun can possibly be an effective way to deliver the benefits of many herbal and plant remedies. As this article on the Web site Vapornation says, vaporizers produce little if any smoke while creating enough heat to release the substances in tobacco or other plant or herb products, but not reaching the temperature at which the plant matter burns. The article says that "the active compounds contained in the plant melt and phase into an aromatic vapor, not smoke. This vapor ideally contains reduced amounts of particulate matter and carcinogens."

You get the THC but not the carcinogens, the nicotine but not the burning.

December 11, 2007 in Drugs | Permalink


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Aluminum foil, small Ziploc bags, matches, lighters, spoons, apples, baking soda, aerosol products, fertilizer, UV lamps, and pipes are all dual-use products. Will I need to sign an agreement not to use gasoline as a huffing agent soon? Stupid.

And what the hell is wrong with harm reduction? What governmental interest is advanced by lung ailments, coughs, and cancer staying part of people's drug experiences? I'd be happier if the government insisted on the sale of vaporizers and outlawed rolling papers, but clearly government doesn't work for our better interests, only its own.

Posted by: jon | Dec 17, 2007 4:05:51 AM