Sheltered Fools

I’m starting to wonder if anyone on the staff of the Tacoma News-Tribune has ever been outside the city of Tacoma. Here’s Brian O’Neill trying to figure out what happened at Tacoma Hempfest yesterday, where TPD busted several vendors for selling glass pipes:

The Trib article describing police arrests at Tacoma’s Hempfest also suggested that many of those given citations were also people deeply involved in the, pardon the pun, grassroots effort to legalize pot. The report also pointed out the general surprise regarding the police response, especially by those arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia and marijuana. One vendor commented that “I was dumbfounded” after being cited for having drug pipes.

That may be due to the potential changes many jurisdictions were expecting out of Olympia.

Um, no, it has nothing to do with that. It has to do with the fact that selling glass pipes has long been legal in the state of Washington (as it’s not hard to find stores in the city of Tacoma that sell these items). In addition, these vendors weren’t bothered last year, nor have they ever been bothered at Seattle Hempfest.

According to TPD, the contracts those vendors signed didn’t allow them to sell paraphernalia. It looks like this will end up being sorted out in a courtroom, once again showing how eager the Tacoma Police have been (and their loyal servants at the TNT) to waste taxpayer money in their obsession with pot.


  1. 1

    Michael spews:

    I believe O’neill is also a cop, maybe an ex- or retired cop or something.

    I’m starting to wonder if anyone on the staff of the Tacoma News-Tribune has ever been outside the city of Tacoma.

    Hell, I don’t think they get out and about much inside the city of Tacoma. They’re a fairly vindictive and out of touch bunch.

  2. 3


    I’m not sure of this point myself. I was actually going to make a joke about hiring Blackwater to provide security at next year’s Hempfest, but I don’t know exactly what was required of them. I’d also like to know if the permits changed between last year and this year.

    Since I posted this, the story was written up in a Boston newspaper, so this appears to be going national.

    Wouldn’t surprise me. Most people aren’t that stupid without having some sort of ulterior motive.

  3. 4

    Michael spews:

    They’re a fairly vindictive and out of touch bunch.

    I was speaking of the editoral board.

  4. 5


    re #1 Michael, I do believe he is an active member of the force. What position he has I do not know. In reading the comments he does make mention that events of that size need to have a police security detail. The way it comes across is that you cannot use private security. In my old home town we had guys who wore shark skin suits who made the same demand, “Hire us or ya gonna get hurt” (it helps to do it with the accent).

    It is funny that I was able to post a comment on the original story earlier today at the Trib’s site. Now I can’t and they don’t recognize my email address or name. Maybe I’ve been blocked. he-he

  5. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Few things are as disruptive of domestic order and tranquility than an overzealous cop equipped with a badge, a gun, a citation book, and an ideology.

    For example, a few years ago the Port of Seattle’s finest decided to test human frailty. Among you humans, some of you are frailer than others, as you probably know. The cops tested the honesty of SeaTac Airport patrons by leaving a wallet containing cash in plain view, staking it out, and citing everyone who pocketed the cash. All of these citations were thrown out in court under the legal doctrine of entrapment, which says that if police entice people to commit a crime they otherwise wouldn’t have committed, they didn’t commit a crime. In other words, cops aren’t allowed to dangle temptation in front of weak human nature and then send people to prison for their moral collapse when confronted by police-created temptation.

    Speaking as a lawyer, which I am, to the chagrin of certain of our trolls who have strived mightily (and in vain) to convince themselves I am not, I don’t see an entrapment issue in the Hempfest busts; but I do see another problem — and defense.

    Taking the bare facts as Lee presented them (and facts are everything in law; the addition or subtraction of a fact can, and often does, change the outcome), it appears that glass pipes are legal in Tacoma, and the violation (if there was one) was a breach of contract by the vendors. If this is so, then it is impossible to divine how unwitting buyers (who, of course, had no knowledge of the vendor contracts) can be criminally liable for contract violations committed by the vendors who sold them the glass pipes. Based on the facts as presented by Lee, I predict a short half-life for these citations in court.

    But that’s not the real issue here. The real issue is that the people who received the citations will have to take time off from work, spend time preparing their defense, and appear in court to get these bullshit citations thrown out.

    Don’t tell me all cops are conscientious and no cop ever writes a citation he knows to be invalid just for harassment purposes. I’ve been a lawyer too long (almost 40 years) to not know that does go on. Cops, after all, are human and are just as capable of being assholes as the rest of you humans.

    And that’s the issue. Writing a citation, knowing it’s invalid and won’t stand up in court, is professional malpractice and should result in the cop receiving Special High Intensity Training (S.H.I.T.) from his supervisors. Anything less is departmental malpractice and should result in political intervention by the elected officials whom we depend on to protect us from overzealous law-unto-themselves cops, which is commonly known as political harassment of the police department. Let’s face it, some police departments have it coming, and need political supervision, to protect the rest of us from police tyranny.

  6. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I don’t have much respect for the Port of Seattle Keystone Kops. For several reasons, one of them being Steve Titus. Those of you who have been around for a while may remember the Titus case. Mr. Titus was convicted of a rape he didn’t commit and sent to prison on the false testimony of an overzealous Port of Seattle cop who was too eager to solve a case by fingerpointing at a conveniently available semi-suspect. Titus eventually was cleared and released from prison, but the stress of going to prison and having to spend years fighting to clear his name was too much for him, and shortly after his release he collapsed and died of a heart attack at the age of 38. His children collected the $2 million wrongful conviction civil judgment against the Port of Seattle which, of course, was paid by us taxpayers.

  7. 8

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    “His children collected the $2 million wrongful conviction civil judgment against the Port of Seattle which, of course, was paid by us taxpayers.”

    It’s too bad that the police officers involved in that particular fiasco didn’t have to forfeit all their assets (including retirement funds, their kid’s college funds, and any other assets they owned, including the clothes in their closets) to satisfy the $2 million judgement. I beleive that the police officers involved in a case like this should be entirely wiped-out financially before the tax payers have to pay one dime against such a judgement. Maybe then the police would be more honest and careful in their activities.

  8. 9

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    BTW, I am sorry I missed the hemp festival, but I did manage to sign both the state initiative supporting changing the cannabis laws and the Tacoma initiative to put less law enforcement emphasis on cannabis violations. I urge all Pierce County residents to sign these initiatives and help stop this insane war against cannabis.

    If you don’t live in Pierce County, you can still sign for Initiative 1149. I urge all of you to do so.