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HQ 114967

April 7, 2000

RES-2-RR:IT:EC 114967 CC


Ken Lacy
KEL International
1838 El Camino Real #222
Burlingame, CA 94010

RE: Pipe; drug paraphernalia; 21 U.S.C. § 863

Dear Mr. Lacy:

This is in response to your letter of December 16, 1999, on behalf of 3rd Rock, concerning the importation of a metal pipe. Your request was forwarded to us by our National Commodity Specialist Division in New York, in order to determine if the pipe is admissible.


You requested a classification ruling for parts of smoking pipes and a ruling as to whether a certain pipe is prohibited importation because it is considered drug paraphernalia. Item EX-1 is a small, threaded metal piece, which is cylindrical in shape. It is 2 inches long and 3/8-inch in diameter. You state that it can be joined to Item EL-6 to create a customized metal tobacco pipe. Item EL-6 is a small, pipefitting which can be made of brass, nickel-plated brass, or anodized aluminum. It is cylindrical and measures ¾ inch in length and ½ inch in diameter. Along the length, one end is closed and the other end is open to receive a fitting. It can serve as a pipe bowl and you state that when combined with Item EX-1 is a “custom metal tobacco pipe.”


Whether the subject pipe is drug paraphernalia, the importation of which is unlawful, under 21 U.S.C. § 863.


21 U.S.C. § 863(a) provides that it is unlawful for any person to import or export drug paraphernalia. Pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 863(d), the term “drug paraphernalia” means any equipment, product, or material of any kind which is primarily intended or designed for use in connection with controlled substances. Examples of drug paraphernalia, listed in 21 U.S.C. § 863(d), include, among other things, metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls; water pipes; chamber pipes; carburetor pipes; electric pipes; air-driven pipes; chillums; bongs; and ice pipes or chillers.

In determining whether an item constitutes drug paraphernalia, 21 U.S.C. § 863(e) provides that in addition to all other logically relevant factors, the following may be considered: (1) instructions, oral or written, provided with the item concerning its use; (2) descriptive materials accompanying the item which explain or depict its use; (3) national and local advertising concerning its use; (4) the manner in which the item is displayed for sale; (5) whether the owner, or anyone in control of the item, is a legitimate supplier of like or related items to the community, such as a licensed distributor or dealer of tobacco products; (6) direct or circumstantial evidence of the ratio of sales of the item(s) to the total sales of the business enterprise; (7) the existence and scope of legitimate uses of the item in the community; and (8) expert testimony concerning its use.

Pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 863(f)(2), this section shall not apply to any item that, in the normal lawful course of business, is imported, exported, transported, or sold through the mail or by any other means, and traditionally intended for use with tobacco products, including any pipe, paper, or accessory.

In your submission, the subject pipe is designated as merchandise specifically listed in 21 U.S.C. § 863(d) as drug paraphernalia, e.g., metal pipes. The small bowl, which is suitable only for small amounts of material consistent with the ingestion of controlled substances, leads us to find reasonable grounds for believing that this is an article of drug paraphernalia. See Headquarters Ruling (HQ) 459156, dated December 18, 1995. In addition, there is nothing in your submission, e.g., any of the documentation listed 21 U.S.C. § 863(e), which shows that the subject pipes are traditionally intended for use with tobacco products. Consequently, we find that the subject pipes are considered drug paraphernalia pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 863.

Because the importation of this article is unlawful and prohibited, a determination as to the classification is not appropriate. In this regard, we note 19 CFR § 177.7(a), which provides in pertinent part:
no ruling letter will be issued with regard to transactions or questions which are essentially hypothetical in nature or in any instance in which it appears contrary to the sound administration of the Customs and related laws to do so.


The subject pipe is drug paraphernalia, the importation of which is unlawful, under 21 U.S.C. § 863.


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