In 2003, the U.S. Department of Justice put into motion Operation Pipe Dreams, which led to hundreds of businesses and homes being raided. The $12 million operation, which involved 2,000 law enforcement officers, targeted sellers and makers of cannabis pipes. At the time, selling and making cannabis pipes was a crime, with DEA’s acting administrator John Brown noting that individuals who sold drug paraphernalia were akin to drug dealers.
The possession and use of marijuana was made illegal under federal law through the Controlled Substances Act 1970. Under the act, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, together with ecstasy, LSD and heroin.
Today recreational cannabis is legal in the District of Columbia and in 18 states, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois and New York. Additionally, 27 states have decriminalized marijuana, which makes the consumption of small amounts of the plant a local or civil infringement rather than a crime that may result in jail time.
National cannabis sales are expected to reach $24 billion in 2021, despite the plant being illegal on a federal scale. States such as Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts have legalized the recreational use and sale of cannabis, with Rhode Island set to in the near future.
Unlike in the past, the use of pipes in connection with marijuana use has grown, which has brought recognition to the cannabis art scene. A good example of this would be Tito Bern who has been selling his work for almost two decades. Bern is the co-founder of the Bern Gallery, which is an award-winning glass and smoke shop. In addition, ceramists such as Jess Baer, who has a studio in Massachusetts, began to sell ceramic hand-glazed pipes in 2018, after the state legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2016.
However, the artisan glassmaking market still faces some challenges, with the biggest one being the use of cannabis vape pens. Vape pens have increased the demand for oil cartridges and reduced that of cannabis flower, which has decreased the demand for glass pipes. Additionally, the mass production of these pipes in countries such as China has slightly impacted the demand for locally made pipes, as the former are more affordable and can be found virtually anywhere.
However, the difference in price hasn’t greatly affected demand for glass pipes, seeing as most American artisans create unique pieces that require a lot of skill and are often viewed as collectibles.
It is great to observe that cannabis legalization has not only allowed companies such as Hero Technologies Inc. (OTC: HENC) to thrive, but other related industries such as cannabis pipe making have also revived around the country.
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