Woman Faces 30-Year Prison Sentence And $1M Fine For 8 Ounces Of Bong Water Found In Her Car

Zinger Key Points
  • A Fargo woman faces 30 years in prison for bong water due to an overlooked law treating it as a controlled substance.

A woman from Fargo North Dakota was pulled over for speeding near Polk County, Minnesota is now facing a possible 30-years-in-prison sentence for felony charges for water found on the bottom of a cannabis bong. But an “obscure relic of the war on drug paraphernalia” was overlooked and was not included in the decriminalization bill: a provision in state law that treats bong water, reported The Minnesota Reformer. Bong water is usually found at the bottom of a smoking device, used to cool the smoke.

What Happened?

On May 8, Jessica Beske was pulled over for speeding. Deputies, smelling marijuana, searched her car and found the bong, a glass jar with a "crystal substance," and paraphernalia. This led to Beske being charged with first-degree felony possession, which carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Residue From Old Laws

Treating bong water as a controlled substance equates the water at the bottom of a smoking device as an illicit substance. This could lead to severe charges if the amount of water surpasses a certain limit. That limit is a 50-gram threshold for a first-degree felony.

So, in this case, the disposable water from the bong is being treated as if it were an amphetamine or heroin. The case refers back to a 2009 Minnesota Supreme Court ruling in State vs. Peck, where bong water was deemed, oddly enough, a "drug mixture."

Although legislation in 2010 exempted bong water quantities under 4 ounces from this definition, 8 ounces were found in Beske's possession. Also, the police took Beske´s car and seized $2,400 in cash despite her showing a legal document that proved she had just won the money in the casino earlier that day.

A Prosecutor With A Reputation

Polk County prosecutor Scott Buhler has remained silent on the specifics but stated, "The criminal complaint filed in Ms. Beske's case speaks for itself." He is known for leveraging stringent laws to maximize charges, once highlighting the use of a tax on illicit drugs to keep plea bargaining options open. Beske’s charges include first-degree possession and a violation of the illicit drug tax law.

What makes the situation concerning is that Minnesota has made significant advances in cannabis legislation since legalization in August 2023. The House recently passed a bill to expedite the retail cannabis marketplace, legalizing home-grown cannabis and introducing social equity programs. Gov. Waltz oversaw the expungement of nearly 58,000 misdemeanor cannabis convictions this past May.

It appears that some individuals are having a hard time adapting.

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Posted In: CannabisNewsRegulationsLegalMarketsGeneralCannabisFargoFelony ChargesGov. WaltzJessica BeskeMinnesotaprison
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