“That bong with the leftover water in it?” says Emily Gurnon in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “It can get you in big trouble.” In a 4-3 decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court decided that bong water is a “mixture” with a controlled substance, not “drug paraphernalia.” That distinction matters to Sara Ruth Peck, 46: She now faces more than seven years in jail on a first-degree felony charge, instead of a $300 or less slap-on-the-wrist misdemeanor fine.
It’s hard to think of bong water as a “legitimate drug,” says Emily Kaiser in the Minneapolis City Pages, although we “puked a little” after reading testimony from a narcotics officer that some pot smokers drink their bong water. But hey cops, “here’s an idea: If you find bong water that tests positive for drugs, chances are you’ll find some drugs hanging out somewhere close by.”
The point of the ruling is probably so cops can “harass people when they can’t find drugs,” says John Cole in Balloon Juice. If there’s “no actual pot lying around,” no problem—just make up a new drug. “This is the stupidest country in the world.”
The ruling is certainly a “head-scratcher,” says Jeralyn Merritt in TalkLeft. The majority’s opinion has some literal-minded merit: there was 37 grams of meth-tinged bong water, exceeding the state’s 25-gram minimum for a controlled substance. But if you think about it for more than a second, calling bong water a drug is “silly to the point of absurdity.” And this “would be laughable,” if seven years of a woman’s life weren’t at stake.