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During the early 70's, 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.

On June 17, 1971, President Richard Nixon stood before his peers in the White House’s briefing room and officially initiated the War on Drugs. 

National Families in Action, formed in 1977, successfully lobbied to pass several laws prohibiting the sale of drug paraphernalia. By 1979, just as cocaine use peaked, the DEA proposed the Model Drug Paraphernelia Act, which set in place an incredibly vague definition of what constituted “paraphernalia:”

Prior to the creation of the Model Drug Paraphernalia Act, then-Senators Joe Biden and Charles Mathias held a hearing in Baltimore, where the Paraphernalia Trade Association (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.”

Instead of having the desired affect, 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.  Nalpeka began lobbying McDonald's to ban the McSpoon.

Eventually, McDonald’s ceded to anti-drug pressure. “It has been brought to our attention,” the family-oriented company stated in a press release, “that people are using [our spoons] illegally and illicitly for purposes for which they are not intended." With that, in December 1979, the ‘McSpoon’ bid adieu.

McSpoon R.I.P.


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