David Kirkpatrick

March 6, 2008

Nanny state — er city — in action Chicago-style

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:50 am

It looks like Chicago is going to ban self-sealing plastic bags under two inches in height or width. A Chicago drug and gang unit commanding officer described the bags as “Marketing 101 for the drug dealers.”

Here’s the best part of the linked article:

Prior to the final vote, Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) expressed concern about arresting innocent people. He noted that extra buttons that come with suits, shirts and blouses — and jewelry that’s been repaired — come in similar plastic bags.

Burnett was reassured by language that states “one reasonably should know that such items will be or are being used” to package, transfer, deliver or store a controlled substance. Violators would be punished by a $1,500 fine.

Because we all know authorities always use great judgement when determining how an item may, or may not, be intended for use. Hopefully for Burnett’s sake no mall cops search his bag after picking up a few new shirts. I’m guessing he’d be in possession of not only some tiny bags, but possibly powdered drugs cleverly formed to mimic buttons.

I know that example is over-the-top, but any law that criminalizes a common item when used a “certain” way and leaves the usage determination up to street level enforcement, the potential for abuse is huge. And I seriously doubt this new regulation is going to have any effect whatsoever on the availability of small quantities of illicit drugs on the streets of Chicago.

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