Drug paraphernalia laws can be tricky, and they’re only getting more difficult to understand as the number of states legalizing marijuana increases. If you want to go somewhere with a glass bong, you likely want to know if you’re at risk of getting arrested.
A glass bong can get you into trouble with the law, and that’s why the best move is to make it as inconspicuous as possible. Pack it in a backpack or bag if you’re walking somewhere, and store it in your trunk if you’re driving. Although a glass bong on its own isn’t necessarily illegal, it can draw attention that you don’t want.
The Complicated Drug Paraphernalia Laws in the United States
Legally, drug paraphernalia is anything that’s primarily used to make, conceal or ingest illegal drugs. The word “primarily” is important, as there are plenty of chemicals that can be used to manufacture certain drugs, but this isn’t their primary purpose.
So, is a glass bong considered drug paraphernalia? That depends on how you use it. You can use one to ingest marijuana, which is still considered an illegal drug by the federal government, or tobacco, which is legal.
This is how many head shops and other retailers can sell glass bongs without getting charged with selling drug paraphernalia. They call them water pipes instead of glass bongs and they label these items with a warning stating that the pipes are only for use with tobacco.
What all this means for you is that if you have a glass bong with absolutely no marijuana residue in it, you’re not carrying drug paraphernalia around.
Potential Issues with Carrying a Glass Bong Around
There are some potential problems that can occur if you decide to take your glass bong with you somewhere.
Let’s first assume that your glass bong has no marijuana residue. You’re doing nothing wrong, but a police officer could still decide to stop you and question you about it. If you come across a particularly overzealous officer, they may decide to arrest you for the glass bong alone.
An experienced lawyer can usually get charges like that dismissed, but it’s better to avoid the hassle altogether. Even if the officer doesn’t arrest you, the situation will be an unnecessary waste of time.
Now, let’s consider situations when your glass bong has marijuana residue in it. Remember that it doesn’t need to be a large amount to get you arrested and hit with drug paraphernalia charges. Even a tiny amount of residue still makes your glass bong a piece of drug paraphernalia.
Whether you’re arrested or not could depend in part on your state. In states that have legalized marijuana, this situation is less likely to result in your arrest, although it could still happen since the drug is illegal federally.
Drug Paraphernalia Penalties
A basic drug paraphernalia charge will usually be a misdemeanor where all you need to do is pay a fine. If it’s your first offense, you can likely get it deferred by staying out of trouble for a few months. This will depend on your location and the court that handles your case.
You’ll be looking at harsher penalties if you’re a repeat offender or you were caught carrying a glass bong around in a school zone, which is always a bad idea. Jailtime is rare with these cases, but it can happen.
The smartest decision you can make here is keeping that glass bong out of sight, just in case. Regardless of how you carry your glass bong, keep it clean so that there’s no traces of marijuana.