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Author: Subject: [RESEARCH] My interpretation of the Texas anti-glassware law
Cou
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[RESEARCH] My interpretation of the Texas anti-glassware law

Please don't put this in Detritus, because it's the first attempt on this forum to analyze the risk of buying glassware w/o a permit in Texas, instead of just bashing the law and going "OH TEXAS ANTI-SCIENCE DRACONIAN FASCIST DUMB LAW" with no research or thought.

From health and safety code title 6 chapter 481:

Sec. 481.081. CHEMICAL LABORATORY APPARATUS TRANSFER PERMIT. (a) A person must obtain a chemical laboratory apparatus transfer permit from the department to be eligible:

(1) to sell, transfer, or otherwise furnish an apparatus subject to Section 481.080(a) to a person in this state;

(2) to receive an apparatus subject to Section 481.080(a) from a source outside this state; or

(3) to receive an apparatus subject to Section 481.080(a) if the person, in receiving the apparatus, does not represent a business.

(2) is the biggie if you want to order glassware from a company outside Texas, and have it shipped to you. So for example, an order from Elemental Scientific, HMS Beagle, or even a China-based company such as Laboy Glass. If I interpreted this right, you can legally get glassware this way:

1) Drive to a town right across the border with Oklahoma/Arkansas/New Mexico/Louisiana.

2) Rent a P.O. box in that town's post office.

3) Have the glassware order shipped to that P.O. box.

4) Make a 2nd trip to pick up the package once it's shipped.

5) Drive it back home in Texas.

This doesn't violate the Texas glassware law, however you might be breaking some law about importing glassware, or driving glassware across state borders, and I can't find any law related to that.

Now zts16 is one of the many Texas amateur chemists who has bought lots of glassware with not a peep from law enforcement. He argues that the law is only used against actual meth cooks. Similarly, someone in this forum called DPS and DPS said "there are no cases of that law used against someone who was not manufacturing drugs". It therefore seems that this law is never enforced, so there's nothing to worry about. Also the fact that the law is very obscure and no one knows about it. Probably one of those dumb laws in the books that no one enforces, like the one that says it's illegal to take more than 3 sips of an alcoholic beverage at a time while standing up.

But now take a look at this:
 Quote: Originally posted by parmenides123 I spoke with a lady named Jeanne Malone who is the head lady in charge at the DPS chemical precursor program, she informed me that they do regularly investiigate and prosecute people for using those items without a permit drugs/explosives or not. After that anonymous conversation I made this account and went into emergency order cancel mode. In order to get that permit your house has to be inspected and you have to have locked safe or locker that is bolted to a wall to hold the glass. You have to give them a list of exactly everything you will be doing with, if you have any criminal record you are denied. You go into all sorts of investigative databases. I have no illicit intentions, Im a chemistry major and from conversations with my professors and lab techs, ive come to the conclusion you cant do any kind of real deal chemistry without most of those items. Its a really sad state.

Do they mean to say that if you get glassware, you're screwed, even if you never made meth? But zts16 pointed out that of course they would say that, because DPS isn't gonna say "oh go ahead and buy glassware, it's illegal but we don't care".

Now after all this, I still haven't decided if it's safe to buy glassware. So I used google scholar to search court cases. I searched for "chemistry laboratory apparatus" and Sec. 481.138 (the section that defines criminal punishment for having unregistered glassware) and in both searches, only one court case came up. Perhaps this is the only time in legal history that the law was used, which was in 2009? Here is the court case: https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=155217417421899...

This was a man who manufactured methamphetamine. But then the mention of that law is in the footnotes only; while the law was mentioned in court, it appears that it was never applied to the sentence. And the man didn't even use glassware, it seems that he made the meth in a plastic bottle and glass jars.

So if this Google Scholar search is accurate, it appears that the anti-glassware law has NEVER actually been used in a Texas court case in the history of that law since it was made in 1989. And therefore a Texas amateur chemist has nothing to worry about. In the miniscule chance that you're the first one for whom the law is brought up in court, it may get thrown out because you're not making drugs or explosives.

However I'll need to do a more thorough search. My brother is a lawyer, he might be more skilled at searching court cases.

I'll also have to do an arrest record search. It's entirely possible that the law was used for an arrest/search warrant and SWAT raid, but the subject was convicted in court of something unrelated to the glassware law.

[Edited on 13-3-2016 by Cou]

[Edited on 13-3-2016 by Cou]

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Mailinmypocket
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Why couldn't you just have it shipped from Elemental or another U.S. based vendor? It won't go through customs and therefore not be subject to scrutiny like items from out of country (and even then, I'm sure lots of glassware comes in and is seen by customs and is sent along its merry way to Texan hobbyists). Yes you technically bought it and imported it without applying for a permit for glassware. But if there are no large safety issues or drugs/explosives hanging around should you be "investigated", then what is the worst that can happen? A fine? A warning?

It seems like this law stresses you a little more than it should. What happens if a person takes up a genuine interest in doing responsible safe home chemistry and never thinks to look up laws regarding glassware specifically? Lots of people would search for perhaps "is amateur chemistry legal in XXXX country?", which gives pretty varied results. Would this person be severely prosecuted? Seriously doubt it especially in the absence of other crimes being committed.

I guess I'm just trying to say that the law is there for other purposes than to prosecute responsible yet perhaps naive hobbyists.

Now go order an erlenmeyer and have some fun!

Note to self: Tare the damned flask.
Cou
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 Quote: Originally posted by Mailinmypocket But if there are no large safety issues or drugs/explosives hanging around should you be "investigated", then what is the worst that can happen? A fine? A warning?

It's a felony to receive unregistered glassware.

Sec. 481.138. OFFENSE: UNLAWFUL TRANSFER OR RECEIPT OF CHEMICAL LABORATORY APPARATUS. (a) A person commits an offense if the person sells, transfers, furnishes, or receives a chemical laboratory apparatus subject to Section 481.080(a) and the person:

(1) does not have a chemical laboratory apparatus transfer permit as required by Section 481.081 at the time of the transaction;

(2) does not comply with Section 481.080;

(3) knowingly makes a false statement in a report or record required by Section 481.080 or 481.081; or

(4) knowingly violates a rule adopted under Section 481.080 or 481.081.

(b) An offense under this section is a state jail felony, unless it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense under this section, in which event the offense is a felony of the third degree.

[Edited on 13-3-2016 by Cou]

[Edited on 13-3-2016 by Cou]

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Mailinmypocket
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Circumventing the law probably is too in one way or another. The amount of trouble you are willing to go through just to avoid being a "criminal" for buying a 125ml erlenmeyer is far more suspicious than just ordering it to your door like a normal person and answering questions if and when they come up!

Note to self: Tare the damned flask.
Texium
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 Quote: Originally posted by Mailinmypocket Circumventing the law probably is too in one way or another. The amount of trouble you are willing to go through just to avoid being a "criminal" for buying a 125ml erlenmeyer is far more suspicious than just ordering it to your door like a normal person and answering questions if and when they come up!
Yes, and I've tried to tell him the same thing many, many times in other threads like this that he's started as well as countless U2U messages, a couple of which he refers to in the OP.

Cou, you're really beating a dead horse now with your continued obsession with this topic. Buy some glassware, or don't, I don't really care either way, but next time you post on here it better not be about this law (or Donald Trump, for that matter).

[Edited on 3-18-2016 by zts16]

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aga
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Given that it is a bit of an obsession, and clearly the consequences are worrying enough that you have not acquired glassware, your best course would be to explain all this to the police (or some branch of the law) and ask for clarification and/or permission.

If they say 'No.' then you're in the same position you are now, yet with a record that you asked, which would be slightly better than nothing.

If they say 'OK' and give you something in writing, you can do what you like, within reason.

Repeatedly asking/saying stuff here is utterly pointless. Nobody here is an expert in Texan law, and neither is there any infuence from SM on Texan State Legislators.

It's like repeatedly asking a bunch of Carpenters the precise details of the triple heart bypass operation you are about to undergo : we do not know. Ask the surgeon.
Amos
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 Quote: Originally posted by aga Repeatedly asking/saying stuff here is utterly pointless. Nobody here is an expert in Texan law, and neither is there any infuence from SM on Texan State Legislators. It's like repeatedly asking a bunch of Carpenters the precise details of the triple heart bypass operation you are about to undergo : we do not know. Ask the surgeon.

More important, it's barely relevant at all. Cou seems to be the only Texan chemist that is even remotely phased by the law. It's like we're being asked to spoonfeed peace of mind.

arkoma
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Under a strict interpretation of the glassware law your damn coffee maker is illegal--it's a FILTER FUNNEL fer chrissake.

I nominate Cou for "Texas Drama Queen" forum title

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carrant
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Cou,

In reading
Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 48

please pay close attention to the list of definitions.

1. (5) "Controlled substance" means a substance, including a drug, an adulterant, and a dilutant, listed in Schedules I through V or Penalty Group 1, 1-A, 2, 2-A, 3, or 4. The term includes the aggregate weight of any mixture, solution, or other substance containing a controlled substance.

2. (6) "Controlled substance analogue" means:
1. (A) a substance with a chemical structure substantially similar to the chemical structure of a controlled substance in Schedule I or II or Penalty Group 1, 1-A, 2, or 2-A; or
2. (B) a substance specifically designed to produce an effect substantially similar to, or greater than, the effect of a controlled substance in Schedule I or II or Penalty Group 1, 1-A, 2, or 2-A.

3. ...
4. (53) "Chemical laboratory apparatus" means any item of equipment designed, made, or adapted to manufacture a controlled substance or a controlled substance analogue, including: ...

Looking at
Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 37, Part I, Chapter 13, Subchapter E, RULE §13.101

We have the same definition
1. (2) Apparatus--An item of chemical laboratory equipment covered by this subchapter, that is designed, made, or adapted to manufacture a controlled substance or a controlled substance analogue. This term: ...

In looking at the definitions and going through some substitutions, the wording would seem to indicate that a permit is required if you are going to be dealing with controlled substances and/or their analogues.

Maybe that's why you can buy a coffee maker nearly everywhere in the state.
Now if coffee becomes a controlled substance then we are all doomed!

If you are still concerned, then to circumvent the law you probably need to order and receive the apparatus out of state.

As indicated by
Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 37, Part I, Chapter 13, Subchapter E, RULE §13.103, Permit Exception

1. (10) is a recipient who places an order to receive and receives the precursor or apparatus while located outside this state.

Here is a set you can buy off of Craigslist in the metroplex.
Since they are close enough to Oklahoma you might be able to get them to meet you across the border.
Organic Chemistry Giant Deluxe Glassware Set - $650 (Denton) If you are still looking for peace of mind then find a lawyer, pay them a few$k and get their interpretation of the statutes. The law is a complicated beast!

Good luck!
careysub
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If Cou has a mind to travel he can probably get an SM member who is not in Texas to act as his agent, and do the order and receipt. People on SM are pretty helpful. Two long days of driving will get you to almost anyplace in the CONUS from Texas, make it a four day adventure - and that is the worst case.
j_sum1
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Good idea careysub.
Make a week of it and spend three days eating bad (or good) food with a friend and doing interesting stuff in the lab.

Texium
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Or he could just drive less than an hour to Denton and buy that really nice array of glassware that carrant suggested, which certainly looks to be worth the money, considering it comes with a heating mantle and has pretty much every piece of glassware that one would use regularly and then some. It would be sold by an individual and not be traceable by the government. If he's careful and doesn't break any, he could conceivably not need to buy glassware again, or at least not for a very long time.

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Etaoin Shrdlu
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With all this effort spent freaking out about Texas, you could have gotten a permit by now.
aga
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Hooray !

So Cou has a working solution and we can stop hearing all about how Texas is so difficult.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKFuc8CdvoA
Cou
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@ carrant, I just called DPS and they said that a permit is required for the glassware, whether or not it's being used for controlled substance. And minors cannot have the permit, the parents however can.

That craigslist deal is quite good.

[Edited on 15-3-2016 by Cou]

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carrant
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@Cou,
Perhaps you should ask the craigslist poster in Denton to meet you in Thackerville, OK. Buy his set and be done with it.
OR
Visit HobbyTown USA on Walnut Hill in Dallas and pay cash for an eflask and RBF OTC.

On a side note - I'm not sure calling TxDPS is the best source for your answer. If you really want to know you should consult with a lawyer.

As an example, call your local TX police station and ask them if you can buy a silencer/suppressor or SBR/SBS. Chances are they will tell you no, they are not legal to own, but that is not a correct answer. (I use this example because I've chatted with family members in law enforcement and they were 100% convinced silencers/sbrs were illegal).

Good luck!
Etaoin Shrdlu
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 Quote: Originally posted by Cou And minors cannot have the permit, the parents however can.

Save the funds for one and ask your parents. Don't they support your hobby now?

As far as I know, no one will actually care if you do this border-hopping rigamarole as long as you don't get caught with a drug lab, but the safest thing is still a permit.
Cou
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Fun fact: I forgot the name of the store, but this small hobby shop in the DFW area was selling florence flasks OTC, which actually require a permit of both the seller and buyer. Guess they don't know about the law, or it just isn't enforced...

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aga
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 Quote: Originally posted by Cou Fun fact: I forgot the name of the store

Sigh.

Ok. Here we go. Try to concentrate.

H is for Hydrogen
He is for Helium
Li is for Lithium
P is for Potato
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Bert
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For the sake of the children, please violate TX letter of the law, fully document your actions and call TX "dept. of pubic safety from scary glassware", demand to be arrested and have ACLU make a test case of this.

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@Cou
I, for one, am looking forward to the end of Tx glassware discussion. (Yes I know that I don't have to read it, but look at my posting history. You can tell I'm hooked. )

It seems like the letter of the law in Tx is slightly more restrictive than other places (except now perhaps the EU), but the actual application allows for some flexibility. (Refer to zts16's experience.)

Now that you have been presented with several sensible options, why don't you act on one and see what happens. I can't wait to see some chemistry from someone who is so enthusiastic and who obviously has a penchant for order and fine details. It should be amazing!

Cou
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After extensively searching Texas court cases on Google Scholar, I can't find a single case of someone who was convicted solely for having glassware. If the police got a search warrant, it was always due to reports of drug dealing, or the smell of methamphetamine, or some complaint. If they didn't get a warrant, drugs were discovered during an unrelated arrest, such as for a DUI. And in every single case, the charge was based on the fact that they either possessed methamphetamine or precursor chemicals such as phenylacetone. Glassware was merely used as evidence to build a case against them, however the glassware law was NOT used in the sentence, only the possession of a controlled substance was.

This is the only case where the glassware law was remotely used in a sentence (From 1993!) but still, he had sold precursor chemicals. https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=504057940126970...

The law is briefly mentioned in the footnotes here, however not mentioned once in the court case, which did involve drugs. https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=104015615523365...

I found at least one case where a wiretapped phone conversation was used to get a search warrant against a drug trafficker.

But who knows, some poor soul who blabbed a bit too much to the DPS could be the first one.

Now as for being ARRESTED for having glassware, and later convicted when the cops happened to find drugs in the area, I dunno about that.

[Edited on 17-3-2016 by Cou]

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aga
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Buy the glass and avoid incriminating compounds, including precursors and intermediates.

Hopefully you'll soon be posting some great writeups about the Chemistry you have done.

With any luck, so will i.

Keep a log book. Date, reaction, intention. Full workings-out.

[Edited on 17-3-2016 by aga]
Cou
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Just went check out that chemistry set on craigslist, it turned out to be kind of incomplete. Most of the flasks weren't even ground-glass joined, and not much variety, and it was missing adapters for distillation. Not worth \$650.

At this point, it seems that the best course of action for a Texan home chemist is to have a glassware order shipped to a friend outside of Texas, go pick it up there, and bring it back, since the glassware law explicitly states an exception for this. Barring any importation laws.

The issue with the permit is that it only applies for one purchase. Forgot to buy 1 flask? Gotta submit another permit and wait a month.

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Hm, true I didn't notice the lack of distillation adapters. That's rather disappointing. I wonder why they aren't there, considering that assortment of stuff would be rather useless without them. Still, though it might not be the best set for a beginner, it's still some good stuff. A few gems in it, like the giant sep funnel, the Soxhlet extractor, and the Schlenk flask.

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 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Non-chemistry » Legal and Societal Issues » [RESEARCH] My interpretation of the Texas anti-glassware law Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Responsible Practices   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues   » Test Forum