Just prior to the creation of the Model Drug Paraphernalia Act of 1979, then-Senators Joe Biden and Charles Mathias held a hearing in Baltimore, where the Paraphernalia Trade Association (PTA who represents headshop vendors) could voice their concerns. The PTA swiftly went about arguing that, under such a broad definition, anything could be deemed “paraphernalia.”
According to minutes from the hearing, one PTA representative attempted to make a mockery of the proposed law. “Look at this,” he facetiously told the panel, thrusting a McDonald’s coffee stirring spoon above his head. “This is the best cocaine spoon in town and it’s free with every cup of coffee at McDonalds.”
With its long, thin handle and tiny stirring head, the McDonald’s spoon had, indeed, amassed a cult following among drug dealers and aficionados. Light, cheap, and inconspicuous, it could be concealed easily — and best of all, as its scoop held exactly 100 milligrams of product, it doubled as a measuring device. Cokeheads were McLovin’ It!
While the representative’s intention was to deride the anti-drug crusaders’ attack, his stunt fell on the wrong ears — those belonging to former President of the National Federation of Parents for Drug-Free Youth, Joyce Nalepka. Though Nalepka left the hearing without a chance to testify, she spent her whole drive home “searching for some way to counteract [the PTA’s] McDonald’s spoon statement.”
Then it hit her: she’d contact McDonald’s, inform the company of its utensil’s bad rap on the street, and demand they discontinue it.
Nalepka phoned the chain’s corporate office and, through some sweet talking, got through to its president, Ed Schmidt. “What do you want from me?” he asked her, as she began to explain the problem.
“The drug paraphernalia industry says your tiny spoon-shaped coffee stirrer is being used as a cocaine spoon,” answered Nalepka. “I’m testifying before the U.S. Senate tomorrow, and I want you to say you’ll redesign the spoon and allow me to go back to the Senate hearing and announce that you don’t want to have your company associated with drug paraphernalia.”
“We have 4,500 stores,” retorted an unfazed Schmidt. “It’s not going to happen.”
Nalepka persisted, this time employing an emotional siege. “Well, would you consider doing this for your children, and for my kids and America’s kids? Go the extra mile.”
Schmidt asked the persistent lobbyist to call him back in twenty minutes; when she did, his answer was curt: “We’ll do it.”
And soon, the McDonald’s coke spoon was replaced with a flat spade — which sounds pretty fucking racist to me — though still ideal for doing bumps.