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FDA Begins Unannounced Inspections of Pipe Makers

(120 posts)
  • Started 5 months ago by Sheldon Richman
  • Latest reply from brian64
  1. slrichman

    Sheldon Richman

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    Read about it here:
    https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/tgif-fda-3/

    Posted 5 months ago #
  2. cosmicfolklore

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    Is this your blog?

    Michael
    Posted 5 months ago #
  3. haparnold

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    Yikes.

    De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum
    Posted 5 months ago #
  4. bluegrassbrian

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    Thanks for sharing.
    I was unaware of the run-in Jeff Gracik had.

    Tobacco's a help because it clears the mind
    But like all your friends it is vilified
    They always say, the right amount's fine
    Posted 5 months ago #
  5. slrichman

    Sheldon Richman

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    "Is this your blog?"

    Yes indeed.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  6. cosmicfolklore

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    You are driving our members to your private blog that also has links to a political site. If you merely wanted to share the ideas with us, without it benefiting your personal and political agendas, you should have handled this post differently. This is using the forum and your fellow members for personal gain.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  7. davet

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    I'll wait for someone to post the Reader's Digest version

    Posted 5 months ago #
  8. johnbarleycorn

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    Thanks for sharing. A very interesting read for sure.

    And little Sir John and the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last
    Posted 5 months ago #
  9. slrichman

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    If anyone objects to my posting this, just say so. I will delete it.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  10. dmcmtk

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    Gotta love police state haressment. Interesting info Sheldon.

    Dave
    Duke Street Irregular
    Posted 5 months ago #
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    Alex

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    Not sure if this is against the rules, but an interesting read for sure!

    Posted 5 months ago #
  12. slrichman

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    Isn't this the "tobacco legislation" subforum? The FDA is conducting inspections on the basis of the 2009 Tobacco Control Act.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  13. dmcmtk

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    Harassment...spelling error above.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  14. slrichman

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    For the record, I make nothing from the blog. But if I've inadvertently broken the rules, I'm happy to have the post deleted. No offense intended.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  15. mso489

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    A central and salient quality of Forums is that we collectively do not engage each other on our wide range of political opinions. That has kept Pipes Magazine and Forums a good place in a distressed, adversarial, and frequently ugly internet. I didn't check out your blog, so I don't know which political point of view you sponsor. But refraining from sharing this part of our lives on Forums has made this site successful and a good discussion of pipes, tobaccos, and general topics. Hope you can continue with us in that spirit. Thanks.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  16. ashdigger

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    MSO, excellent post!!

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 5 months ago #
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    mau1

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    MSO, you are a scholar and a gentleman.

    “I've been treating you with courtesy and respect because that's the way I choose to treat everyone. But never, ever mistake kindness with weakness.”
    ― Louise Penny, Still Life
    Posted 5 months ago #
  18. azpipe

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    For the record, I make nothing from the blog. But if I've inadvertently broken the rules, I'm happy to have the post deleted. No offense intended.

    A-No offense taken.

    and

    B-Personally, I'm grateful for the post.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  19. johnbarleycorn

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    The only political point of view I noticed in the blog post was that the FDA should not be harassing pipe makers. I would think that is a point of view that we could all agree on. Personally if I didn’t actually read a post I would be very hesitant to give an opinion on it. But maybe that’s just me. I have not checked the links provided on your blog but if I decide to I have the free will to check them out if I am so inclined or not. Since I have been a member of this forum I have occasionally been offended by a thread or post. This is certainly not one of them.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  20. cosmicfolklore

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    It just would have been better to have posted what you wanted us to read, instead of driving us to another site which is not owned or controlled by PM. It's like walking into McDonalds and telling everyone to come over to your house. Plus, there are links to political pages in your post. Whether I agree or disagree with the politics, I's just rather not know that aspect of your life.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  21. crashthegrey

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    I am more likely to read a post if you just put the text here. Not a fan of click through personally.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  22. orthodoxpiper

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    Next time to avoid any issues it's probably easier to just copy/paste your articles instead of linking. I enjoyed it and don't necessarily mind that it's your private blog, but I can understand the sentiment that maybe it's not the best idea to link to it.

    Always good to hear from someone who has their ear to the ground about stuff like this. I found this article in particular devoid of any strong political leanings (aside from being pro-tobacco), so I don't see an issue if you're copy/pasting articles in the future.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  23. carolinachurchwarden

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    Personally, I feel as though we have this section under PM for a reason. It is, after all, called the tobacco legislation section. There is almost no way that threads appearing here won't toe the line if not dash across it into the political spectrum. I can ignore anyone's politics of an issue and whatever political affiliation they may side with, I'm more interested in the core issue or information at hand. Therefore, I appreciate the OP's intent to provide us with valuable information that can be discussed without venturing into the deep end of the political spectrum.

    Honestly? If we don't want something political, then maybe either A) There shouldn't be a thread category for the explicit use of introducing topics that could and, more often than not, become political, or B) Threads created under Tobacco Legislation" should not be woven into the forum thread listings with all the rest and you should have to actually go to that section for the Tobacco Legislation threads. Maybe that's just me.

    All I'm saying is that I appreciate the OP's intent and the articles he posted to. All of these things can be viewed objectively, just as I collect my daily intake of news stories from many different perspectives as someone always leaves some little tidbit out that harms any agendas they might be pushing. I found it informative and if any agendas I found present, were that of from the pipe smokers perspective. That is what we all want to still be able to do, so anything that is working to counter our ability to smoke pipes freely, is news very welcome to me.

    "If you can't send money, send tobacco." - George Washington

    Posted 5 months ago #
  24. crashthegrey

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    I'm assuming Cosmic was referring to the giant Libertarian plug at the end, not the legislation bit.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  25. cosmicfolklore

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    ^BINGO

    Posted 5 months ago #
  26. carolinachurchwarden

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    Well that one still doesn't bother me too much. I don't really care where articles were originally published as I've read them from the mix, so I see all sorts of links throughout my day. Maybe I've just learned to ignore it by now.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  27. warren

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    The cogent material could have been posted with redirecting members to a blog. And, yes, political issues can be discussed, even argued, without calling names or being derogatory. Some here cannot do that. Ergo, the restrictions. Violators get run off or banned.

    "Knee jerk" profanity filled, sometimes bigoted, responses were the norm for some who are no longer here. Their membership is usually and thankfully ... short. They could be entertaining in their short lives though and sometimes brought a bit of amusement.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 5 months ago #
  28. cosmicfolklore

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    Having been following this whole thing since the beginning, what irks me most, is when the whole FDA thing becomes a political check point for a side. Remember that this was not an initiative started by the President (any president) but it was started by the cigarette industry as a way to control RYO pipe tobacco and vapes. This was obvious at the start, and if you check the FDA Board (last time I checked it) it was made up of cigarette industry board members. This is clearly the big corporations cracking down on smaller competition. We saw this with chewing tobaccos not long before all of this started. Same thing.
    If you hate this FDA thing, then be sure to kick the heads in of cigarette execs when you see them, and don't give a dime to those cigarette companies, because then you're just fueling all of this.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  29. gerryp

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    But refraining from sharing this part of our lives on Forums has made this site successful and a good discussion of pipes, tobaccos, and general topics.

    Thanks for that post MSO. Rampant knee-jerk politics is why I'm posting here and rarely log into Facebook any more.

    Facebook/Twitter: A bunch of people who hardly know each other screaming about things they know nothing about.

    Here: Civil, intelligent people who discuss common interests.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  30. 3rdguy

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    After a few drinks tonight someone will derail this.

    IBTL.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  31. haparnold

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    It is, admittedly, a fine line to walk talking about legislation on here, even when it's pertinent.

    Maybe we ought to do like they used to do in Dragnet: "just the facts, ma'am"

    Posted 5 months ago #
  32. zack24

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    ...and this falls under this:

    PipesMagazine.com cannot be used just as a means to promote your own web site, blog, YouTube Channel, Facebook Page, or any other outside landing page.

    A blog post or a forum post that is one to a few sentences that are just a lead-in to an outbound link is blatant promotion, or spam. It does nothing to add value to our site, does not enhance the user experience, and is not a participation in the community on the site.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  33. admin

    Kevin Godbee

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    Zack - we're going to let this one go.

    I was supposed to post it myself, and got tied up on a project.

    Check Out Our - Pipes Podcast
    Posted 5 months ago #
  34. cosmicfolklore

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    And, maybe someone can paraphrase this down to a more readable size?

    Posted 5 months ago #
  35. warren

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    "just the facts, ma'am"

    Cosmic and a few of the others have it down to a science. They can post facts, offer interpretations and even opinion without causing a fight on the playground. We all could learn from them, with respect to how to post and even comment without obscenities or ad hominem attacks. Those with no skill in debate often feel the need to engage in both, as they think the more shrill they are, the more weight readers will give to their opinion. "Nerf Balls" compared to WMDs.

    PS

    Thanks Kevin!

    Posted 5 months ago #
  36. cosmicfolklore

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    Ok, here is my Reader's Digest version...

    Jeff Gracik, pipemaker, registered with the FDA as a tobacco product maker. They showed up at his house as one would expect for having done such a strange thing. The agents weren't sure what they were looking for. The guy demonstrated making a pipe for them. They were polite, amused, yet official. They left Jeff's place, leaving pipemakers terrified of such a HUGE governmental overreach.

    All of the other over-thinking and over-speculation and hand-wrenching in the article, you can read on your own. If you enjoy stress, you will love it.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  37. olkofri

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    The article did make my blood pressure rise. Though it was already a bit risen from getting the official answer from the Minister of Health to the petition to abrogate plain packaging for tobacco products in my mail box this morn.

    Not the sweet, new grass with flowers is this harvesting of mine;
    Not the upland clover bloom...
    Posted 5 months ago #
  38. 3rdguy

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    Cosmic has Nerf balls.

    Posted 5 months ago #
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    mau1

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    Well said Warren.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  40. cosmicfolklore

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    You guys aren't taking this seriously. And, leave my Nerf balls out of this. They are Cosmic Nerf Balls!!! Out of this world.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  41. mikethompson

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    This is still open? Wow this is like finding a Blockbuster video.

    As you were.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  42. seldom

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    Thanks for the synopsis there Cosmic. Think I'll leave it at that. I've enough things to worry about without adding any extra froth.

    Personally speaking I like to smoke a pipe sometimes and come here to learn a bit more about pipes and tobacco and share in a bit of pipe smoking camaraderie (not to mention kill time during nap time for my sons). Political debate is so damn prevalent with everyone so dug in that I have come to loathe it. Lots of times I like people more before they start spouting political beliefs.

    Anyhow, my boys are asleep so I'm going to step out to enjoy a bowl. Goodnight all. (IBTL)

    Seldom Seen
    Posted 5 months ago #
  43. trudger

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    Mr Gracik should not correspond with OSHA, those bastards are mean. When is the FDA pipe going up for sale?!

    Posted 5 months ago #
  44. gerryp

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    "Tobacco pipe maker" is a slang term for "meth lab", according to a snitch working for the FDA.

    My guess is the FDA guys said "Holy shit, somebody actually registered as a pipe maker???? We gotta see this!"

    Posted 5 months ago #
  45. cosmicfolklore

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    The post also says that Jeff was forced to register by a retailer. That blows my mind, because if you do a Google search for the places that carry Jeff's pipes, the only places I could find that carries his pipes in the US was smokingpipes and his own website. Did smokingpipes do this? Did they make all of their pipemakers do this?

    Posted 5 months ago #
  46. carolinachurchwarden

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    It's possible if Smoking Pipes has to register to the FDA as well. If they have to register then I'm sure there's likely a stipulation that all vendor goods sold through SP's must be registered as well.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  47. brian64

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    This slow creeping death by a thousand cuts has gone on long enough.

    It's time we all stop "kicking against the pricks" so to speak (no pun intended, really) and conform to the will of our fellow citizens and our beloved government and the pharmaceutical cartel medical science...and give up our dastardly ways, destroy all of our pipes and tobacco...and report to the nearest reeducation facility.

    Who's with me?

    “Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.” – George Carlin
    Posted 5 months ago #
  48. cosmicfolklore

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    Carolina, you’re right. It just read as if...

    Posted 5 months ago #
  49. swilford

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    he post also says that Jeff was forced to register by a retailer. That blows my mind, because if you do a Google search for the places that carry Jeff's pipes, the only places I could find that carries his pipes in the US was smokingpipes and his own website. Did smokingpipes do this? Did they make all of their pipemakers do this?

    Cosmic, the article doesn't say that he was forced by a retailer. The article says that in order to continue selling pipes to retailers (or anyone else), he was forced to register. And that he was assisted by a retailer.

    We did hundreds of hours of free compliance work and spent tens of thousands of dollars to assist pipe makers with compliance. We didn't force them to do it. We paid for it for them because it made much more sense for one entity to shoulder that burden than the various pipemakers all shoulder it.

    So, no, we didn't make anyone do anything. We effectively paid their legal bills and offered to help with the filings.

    Sykes

    Posted 5 months ago #
  50. warren

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    Well done! Looks to be a smart business decision. A plus for all involved.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  51. brian64

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    We did hundreds of hours of free compliance work and spent tens of thousands of dollars to assist pipe makers with compliance.

    Major kudos to SPC for doing this...and you have my sympathy...and I for one am outraged on your behalf that you had to do that.

    The egregious and abusive absurdity of it is breathtaking.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  52. davet

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    We effectively paid their legal bills and offered to help with the filings.

    Well done

    Posted 5 months ago #
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    bent1

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    Thank you for the post, I had no idea this happened to a pipe carver.

    My $0.02, I’m so tired of pipe, cigar, & other tobacco consumers taking it on the chin. I don’t want to cede any ground.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  54. olkofri

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    My $0.02, I’m so tired of pipe, cigar, & other tobacco consumers taking it on the chin. I don’t want to cede any ground.

    I completely agree. I'm fed up being pushed around too. However, how to fight back isn't very clear.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  55. cosmicfolklore

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    I was paraphrasing. The post didn’t make it sound as if he was very grateful. I realize that it is second person, but the writer gave the impression that he didn’t want to do it.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  56. trouttimes

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    If someone is tweeked by the political slant of this post or any other, I would suggest doing the same as I do, change the channel, just don't click on this post. Seems simple to me. I, speaking for myself alone, like to be kept informed about all sides. I say carry on.

    “The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began.
    Now far ahead the Road has gone, I must follow if I can
    Posted 5 months ago #
  57. craiginthecorn

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    I volunteer as a CASA/GAL and have been getting a first-hand education on the inefficiencies of our government bureaucracies and regulations. The inordinate percentage of time and money spent on checking boxes and writing reports leaves far too little time and money to really help the kids they're required by law to protect. Well-intentioned employees who are underpaid, overworked, and frustrated resign after a short time, compounding the problem and leaving behind the overpaid, defeated, and unmotivated who are too lackadaisical to quit themselves. Meanwhile, huge amounts of ill-spent tax dollars get spent maintaining the status quo, meaning kids don't receive the services that they really need. Gee, I wish the government was in charge of my family's healthcare. Ugh.

    The FDA sending multiple inspectors to the workshop of someone carving a pipe from a piece of wood is yet another collosal waste of tax dollars. I could MAYBE make an argument about ensuring that the bowl coatings and finishes are not harmful, but that's about the extent of it. This is what happens to honest and law-abiding folks like Jeff who comply.

    Idiocy.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  58. craiginthecorn

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    Thanks Sykes. While I'm sure it's important to your business that your suppliers don't run afoul of the law, it's remarkably forward-thinking of Laudisi to have shouldered this burden.

    If Jeff Gracik was the first such target of FDA inspections, they couldn't have started in a better place. Jeff strikes me as extremely bright and level-headed, so despite any anxiety he may have felt, I'm certain he would have answered their questions in a calm and professional manner. Hopefully it will smooth the path for others.

    I wonder if he was asked questions about the Behmor coffee roaster under his workbench. Surely that must have looked suspicious.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  59. woodsroad

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    Some times, it’s better that you don’t find a thread until it’s run it’s course.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  60. woodsroad

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    And so on.

    Posted 5 months ago #
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    rnewcombe

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    Sheldon Richman's article was brilliant and a major contribution to our understanding of how the FDA is calling pipes a "component of tobacco," when they are not. They are vessels for consuming tobacco, just like coffee cups are vessels for consuming coffee.

    Cosmic fails to grasp the significance of having federal agents target an individual pipe maker with the threat of shutting him down. To say, "keep politics out of this" is insane. It is politics that the FDA uses to justify their unauthorized raids -- and Jeff Gracik is not the only pipe maker to have been subject to an inspection by the federal government. He is the only one brave enough to talk about it.

    Jeff's grandmother was not only Andy Warhol's cousin; they grew up together in the Pittsburgh area and played together as kids. Imagine if federal inspectors demanded that Andy Warhol drop everything on a surprise raid and then have to answer questions about the components of the paint that he was using. There is absolutely no difference.

    The FDA was given authority to regulate tobacco only, not accessories. Their answer is to redefine the word "tobacco" to include briarwood and vulcanized rubber. We need to let them know that reality is not optional.

    Posted 5 months ago #
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    Joe Blow

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    All politics and positions aside.... I find it a very sad state of affairs, and a terrible indictment on modern policy that the FDA inspection even occurred.

    If it had been the EPA who had queried the Jeff, and the suppliers of the briar for reasons of environmental protection, that would have more appropriate and even understood (not that there's a problem with it, but in order to examine and establish the sustainabity of briar root, and clear it as A OK)

    It's sad, very sad in fact, that in this day and age such over-reach is allowed to happen, and that cooperation is wise in order to avoid conflict and continued and onerous scrutiny.

    Regardless of political persuasion, I would hold in high regard the people and beaurocrats who have the courage to criticize the FDA for their actions and attempt to dissuade such over-reach occurring to others.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  63. olkofri

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    If it had been the EPA who had queried the Jeff, and the suppliers of the briar for reasons of environmental protection, that would have more appropriate and even understood (not that there's a problem with it, but in order to examine and establish the sustainabity of briar root, and clear it as A OK)

    Oh, man, please, don't give them any more ideas. Soon they'll be regulating how many times we can go to the bathroom: too many and we'll be deemed to be 'hurting' the environment.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  64. mikethompson

    mikethompson

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    We effectively paid their legal bills and offered to help with the filings.
    Well done

    I will second that. That is very nice to hear.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  65. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Cosmic fails to grasp the significance of having federal agents target an individual pipe maker with the threat of shutting him down. To say, "keep politics out of this" is insane. It is politics that the FDA uses to justify their unauthorized raids

    “keep politics out of this” was in regards to the first link to the OP’s initial post (that has been changed since Kevin got involved). Initially, the original post was different. There was a link in the first blog that took you to the liberatarian website. Now, the link goes to the post “on” the libertarian website, instead of the OP’s personal blog.

    My paraphrasing, was because the OP was so long, and having been here for a while, I know that usually we complain that posts can be too long, and it was mentioned. If my paraphrasing led someone to go verify the story for themself... I have helped the OP.

    It sounds to me like the FDA is still figuring out that regulating pipemakers is going to very different from regulating a huge industry. I have my hopes, and my own fears. I’m just not sure what in hell to do about any of this. I am just like everyone else... not sure what’s going on, nor what to do about it. If it helps to get mad and throw a chair against the wall, give me a good chair and point to which wall. Because I have participated with all of the online polls, letter writing, and such. If there was a place on the ballot to vote to get the cigarette industry out of the FDA pipe Biz, I’d vote. Otherwise, no candidates seem to care.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  66. carolinachurchwarden

    carolinachurchwarden

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    Yeah, it sounds like the FDA is just grasping at straws. It's not like the food industry where you're arrempting to ensure rules are followed so that people don't get sick. So what exactly is their endgame supposed to be or going to look like? I mean, it'd be like regulating the butchers knife you used to cut a steak.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  67. User has not uploaded an avatar

    rnewcombe

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    I think the main thing we can do is to shine a spotlight on the FDA's unauthorized over-reach, which is why I am so enthusiastic about Sheldon Richman's article. This is actually the third in a series of columns he has written about how the FDA is harming consumers of tobacco.

    The fact that his link was to a website and not a specific article -- I understand, that is a problem for this forum. On the other hand, if any of you are interested in his first two articles about the FDA and tobacco, you should check out his blog, called a hobby not a habit, or The Libertarian Institute's website. I hope he continues writing more on this topic.

    It is disgraceful that the FDA refuses to answer our questions most of the time, and, when they do, their answers are gobbledygook.

    The disconnect between the bureaucrats and the voters is striking. Richman's column appeared in the same week that President Trump. in his State of the Union, was bragging that he has cut more regulations than any other administration. You would think that FDA bureaucrats would get the message -- that the days of over-reach have ended.

    But when it comes to tobacco, everything is fair game. Imagine if you smoked one pipe bowl of tobacco per day without inhaling, and your friend smoked one pipe bowl of marijuana per day and inhaled deeply. Both activities promote relaxation, but the tobacco pipe smoker would be infinitely healthier over a period of years. Yet if Jeff Gracik made marijuana pipes instead of tobacco pipes in California, the FDA would not have sent inspectors to his house.

    We need to keep shining a light on the unfairness of the attacks on our hobby. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  68. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    24 hours later I am sick to my stomach at this intrusion.

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 5 months ago #
  69. pipestud

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    Great post, Rick!

    I'd love to send a copy to every elected official in the country.

    Pipestud
    Posted 5 months ago #
  70. crashthegrey

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    We keep calling it overreach but people voluntarily registered for these visits. Let's not overlook that. The threat of having to register or not sell to retailers is certainly overreaching in my opinion, but they signed up for these visits when they chose to comply early, unless I am missing something.

    Posted 5 months ago #

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