Banning things doesn't keep them from people who want them. But governments never seem to learn this lesson.
Chicago's City Council is considering a ban on the use, sale and possession of tiny resealable plastic bags often used to package small quantities of a variety of items, including illegal drugs. According to a news report in the Chicago Sun-Times, Alderman Robert Fioretti wrote the ordinance and is guiding it through the City Council. Language in the proposal would outlaw "self-sealing plastic bags under two inches in either height or width." There are so many things wrong with this idea it's difficult to know where to start.
The law would be easy to circumvent by using other bags on the market. Popular snack-sized bags are large enough to skirt the ban and small enough to work for a dealer's purposes. A blogger discussing the issue on one site wrote that now he'd have to start buying his drugs in larger quantities.
One council member expressed concern that innocent people could be caught up in the ban. Also, store clerks will apparently be asked to be mind readers and discern the future uses of the bags they sell, and if they're wrong, they face $1,500 fines. That's putting a lot of responsibility on someone who is just trying to make an honest living. Are they supposed to profile customers: the guy with the suit can buy them, but not the 20-something wearing a hoodie and his pants so low you can see his drawers?
Lt. Kevin Navarro, who heads up the Chicago Police Department's Narcotics and Gang Unit, called the proposal an "'important tool' to go after grocery stores, health food stores and other businesses." That's a relief, because grocery stores are such an important link in the drug trade that soccer moms across the country are terrified to take their wee ones with them on their weekly shopping trips.