You know bongs —  cheap, plastic water pipes? Chances are you last saw one in high school, when your mom caught you hiding one under your bed.

Well now, this once illegal paraphernalia has become a billion-dollar business. And I’m not talking about selling high volumes of the fifteen dollar plastic tubes at your local head shop. either.

We’re talking twenty to twenty five thousand dollars per bong.

Welcome to the world of “functional glass art”. Bongs are now much more than a device to get you super-stoned. They’re highly stylized, objects de art, requiring hundreds of man-hours to hand-craft.

Thanks to a weird quirk of legalization — bongs have become a high-end art market unto themselves, complete with gallery openings to rival mainstream artists.

San Francisco podcast The Hash reports from a high-end glass art opening at The Cave called “The Natural Selection”, featuring works by Elbo, where bongs sell for $15,000, and have become their own form of banking.

Here’s some photos from the show.

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