For more than a year now, Minnesota has enjoyed the distinction of being the only state in the nation where you can get charged for possession of bong water.
Now some state legislators, tired of being the butt of national jokes, are trying to change that with a bill that would decriminalize possession of four ounces of bong water.
How did this happen?
In October of 2009, the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld the conviction of 47-year-old Faribault resident Sara Peck for possession with intent to sell.
What was she trying to sell? Well, when they raided her house, the cops didn't find anything--except a pipe with some dirty water in it.
Using a spectacularly literal-minded interpretation of the law, the Rice County Attorney decided to treat the bong water as a controlled substance, since it was a "mixture" that contained trace amounts of amphetemine, and charged her based on the weight of the water.
On appeal, a narrow majority of the state Supreme Court upheld the bong water ruling.
Comedians everywhere had a field day.
Last year, legislators overwhelmingly passed a bill to take bong water off the controlled substance list, but then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed it.
Now Rep. Phyllis Kahn is trying again, with a new bill.
But Kahn's bill only decriminalizes bong water up to four ounces--half a cup. If your bong is a 4-footer, you're still going to run the risk of charges.
Why have an upper limit on bong water at all? Kahn says the County Attorney Association insisted on that language.
But even with the compromise, the county attorneys still aren't supporting it.
"We oppose the bill," says John Kingrey, executive director of the County Attorney Association. "That water contains trace amounts of illegal drugs."Still, Kingrey says, he's glad that Kahn modified her bill, if only to close a loophole.
"The concern is that you might start seeing large amounts of water used as a means of distribution," Kingrey claims. "I heard a report last spring that meth was being put in radiators and brought across the border that way."
Kahn says she's confident her bill will become law this time. "We're going to get it passed again, and this time I'm sure the governor will sign it," Kahn said, referring to newly elected DFL Governor Mark Dayton.
BONUS: Daily Show video of Governor Pawlenty defending his decision to criminalize bong water (starts at the 5:30 mark):