May 29, 2014

Purchasing an Erlenmeyer flask in Texas

I've seen a few threads about the homebrewing forums discussing an alleged bizarre law in Texas the requires individuals to have a permit to purchase an Erlenmeyer flask, commonly used to make yeast starters. I first heard about this alleged law a couple years ago at a homebrew shop in Fort Worth when a group of engineers from the local highway department lab stopped in looking to purchase some equipment and one made a comment about being surprised that the flasks and other equipment were sitting out in plain view for sale. I figured since the topic has recently revived I would take my skills as a Texas lawyer into play and address the subject.

It is fact. In Texas, an individual must obtain a permit from the Texas Department of Public Safety to purchase an Erlenmeyer flask, among other equipment typically used in the production of meth and other illegal drugs that can be produced from commonly available ingredients. Many of the other pieces of equipment regulated under the same statute include the kind of equipment you saw in Breaking Bad in the original RV lab.

As an aside, if you have a Bunsen burner to heat flasks and/or to create an upward draft for your home yeast lab, that is also regulated under the same statute.

In 1987 (and amended in 1989) the state legislature passed a law regulating the purchase and acquisition of chemicals and equipment commonly used in the production of meth and other illegal drugs. Under this law, businesses and individuals who purchase identified equipment and/or chemicals must obtain a permit prior to placing an order or accepting delivery of such items. The seller must report the transaction to the Texas DPS who records the transaction in a database. The permit requires the holder to perform certain security measures to prevent theft. The permit is free to acquire so long as the applicant agrees to the security measures and authorizes the DPS to inspect the location where the equipment is used and stored. A permit lasts one year, after which a new permit must be issued before new purchases may be made.

This statute would require homebrewers acquiring Erlenmeyer flasks to first obtain permits and for homebrew shops to report any transaction to the DPS. Because the homebrew stores take delivery of the equipment from their wholesaler, they must also have a permit and store the equipment appropriately. 
I've seen comments from people that people who make meth do not shop/steal from homebrew shops so there's no reason for the homebrew stores to be concerned. I know personally that one of the local homebrew stores has a sign out that the Idophor is not the type of iodine used to make meth so there's no reason to steal it. I asked about it and they told me they have had some bottles of the fairly cheap sanitizer disappear out the door. Even if the premise of the comments was correct, it still isn't a good idea for stores to expose themselves to liability under the statute for keeping the Erlenmeyer flasks on the shelves. Who knows when a DPS officer might walk in, even if it's just to buy some brewing supplies.

In all likelihood, the DPS probably isn't going to come bust down a homebrewer's door for buying an Erlenmeyer flask without a permit but with the DPS who really knows. Better to get that permit than face the long list of penalties in the Health & Safety Code. If the crackdown comes it will most likely fall on the stores, who are more of a risk of selling to the wrong people or having their inventory stolen.


  1. Wow, that's low-regulation freedom loving Texas for you!

    Monopolize the country's energy market, go ahead, buy a flask for growing yeast or a home chemistry experiment, you better buy a license with yearly renewals and periodic inspections.

  2. Texas is run by fucking morons. Stupid cowboys. They think it's fine to own an arsenal of military style weapons but if a person has an amateur chemistry lab they need to register and agree to home inspections. Texas is severely retarded. I am so lucky I have never had to even visit that dumbass anti-science anti-freedom state. I hope they do secede from the USA. Let them start their own nation of dumbasses. They are a drag on the rest of the country, particularly since so many science textbooks have to pass inspection in Texas, which is the main reason they are so dumbed down. I hate Texas.

    1. Yes... we're "retarded enough to have the largest Medical center in the world, 6 of the largest 20 cities in America, one of the largest economic states, one of the lowest taxation rates, stupid enough to have lower overall state debt than places like California and New York, and higher scores on the NAEP/TIMSS than a science place like California

  3. P.S. I hate this "well they probably won't break into your home and drag you to jail" mentality. Why don't you just get naked and bend over in a gay sex club because after all you probably won't get fucked in the ass so don't worry about it. Please Texas, secede from the USA and then you can ban science totally and set up a Baptist theocracy full of dumbasses. Stupid cowboy fucks!

  4. LoL. Mr. "I hate Texas". From the sounds of your libtarded @$$ we couldn't care what you hate. Snowflake pansy offended by everything obviously hasn't a clue as to what" military" style or the word arsenal even means. We're glad you hate here. Do everyone a favor and stay the hell out before some leftist retarded democrat thinks you make sense and tries to impose more of your bullsh** freedom hating socialist communist laws on people in states you have no business even meddling with.

  5. It seems I'm on the right track, I hope I can do well. The result was something I did and was doing to implement it.

  6. Probably don't need one to own a gun though.