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Question of the day

Wednesday, Mar 5, 2008

* The setup

Tiny plastic bags used to sell small quantities of heroin, crack cocaine, marijuana and other drugs would be banned in Chicago, under a crackdown advanced Tuesday by a City Council committee.

Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) persuaded the Health Committee to ban possession of “self-sealing plastic bags under two inches in either height or width,” after picking up 15 of the bags on a recent Sunday afternoon stroll through a West Side park.

Lt. Kevin Navarro, commanding officer of the Chicago Police Department’s Narcotics and Gang Unit, said the ordinance will be an “important tool” to go after grocery stores, health food stores and other businesses. The bags are used by the thousand to sell small quantities of drugs at $10 or $20 a bag.

Navarro referred to the plastic bags as “Marketing 101 for the drug dealers.” Many of them have symbols, allowing drug users to ask for “Superman” or “Blue Dolphin” instead of the drug itself, he said.

* The question: Good idea or not? Should the state follow suit? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - PJ - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:12 am:

    It’s a plastic bag, for crying out loud. It’s not a bong or some other drug paraphenalia. It’s a plastic bag! They want to “go after” grocery stores? How about “going after” drug dealers?

    Here’s an idea… ban cars, because cars are used to transport drugs and drug dealers. Sure they have other uses (just as plastic bags do), but that’s beside the point, apparently.

  2. - RBD - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:15 am:

    What’s next? Saran Wrap.

    There is a limit to the number of commonly-used items that can be banned just because they are also used for illegal activities. I also question whether disrupting the distribution process really impacts the overall business. It may change the economics but where does it stop the flow of goods to an anxious market with cash.

  3. - Velma - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:15 am:

    This is just a stupid idea. Ban little bags and they’ll cut off and use the corner of a bigger bag (which they do already). Besides, there are other legit uses for the little bags. For example, people who make and sell jewlery, either as a business or as a hobby, use them all the time for beads and small metal findings.

  4. - LathamPlace - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:16 am:

    If these are banned drug dealers will just find another type of bag/container to sell drugs in. This is stupid in my opinion!

  5. - BehindTheScenes - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:18 am:

    Agreed, PJ.
    I have purchased such bags for holding small electronic parts. OMG! Am I bad? Go after the problem, not all the things that could possibly be associated with the problem.

  6. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:19 am:


    I’ve been using them for teeny, tiny lunches!

  7. - NimROD - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:20 am:

    Sure glad I don’t live in Chicago. I guess the sane, sensible leadership we see in the General Assembly and the governors office nowadays must be a Chicago thing.

    Of course - maybe this will force drug dealers to become more environmentally friendly by only using biodegradable paper for packaging and distributing their product. Here’s to a cleaner, greener Chicago where even the pipe heads are doing their part!

    Seriously - did April 1st come early this year?

  8. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:20 am:

    No. Empty gesture.

  9. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:24 am:

    if the city of chicago bans the smaller plastic bags then the dealers will simply graduate to bags that are a little bit larger than two inches.

    or the dealers will just go to the suburbs to buy their two inch plastic bags.


    since we’re sort of on the topic, i think you can draw a correlation between the action that the chicago city council is considering and the action taken by the illinois general assembly to ban the slaughter of horses.

    those horses that were previously headed to the dekalb area for slaughter are now headed to mexico, although apparently in uber-inhumane tractor trailers where they’re piled on top of each other.

    the slaughter still takes place and apparently the horses suffer even more on their way to the ‘farm.’

    the drug sales will still take place and dealers will find ways around the city council ordinance (assuming its adopted).

    in the end these are sort of NIMBY issues. we don’t want horse slaughter in illinois and we (potentially) can’t sell 2 inch baggies in chicago, yet neither of these initiatives is doing anything to address the underlying cause of stopping horse slaughter or in the city’s case curtailing drug sales or drug use for that matter.

  10. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:28 am:

    I am more concerned with the 10.25 tax they have to pay on said baggies. Seriously, I guess the dealers are too stupid to find another method, use ups or drive to Indiana or the burbs.

  11. - Dan S, a Voter - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:30 am:

    Arrest and convict the drug dealers and throw away the key. BAN the drug dealers!!!!!

  12. - Captain America - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:33 am:

    Banning tiny plastic bags appears to be a riduculous and ineffective initiative. I imagine criminal entrepreneurs will find an alternative source of tiny plastic bags outside Chicago or use some substitute packaging material.

  13. - Irish - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:37 am:

    Once again, here we are being consumed with minutia that doesn’t mean anything instead of delaing with the harder issues that would really mean something. I suppose we will now hear from the NATTBP, (National Association of Teeny Tiney Bag People) and they will get their lobbyists going. When will we get away from the shotgun approach to solving issues instead of using the sniper approach. It’s too hard to actually arrest and throw in jail the drug dealers so let’s outlaw everything they are using ’cause their not smart enough to change to anything new. Pretty soon you will have to have a Federal Grocery Shoppers Card to enter a grocery store. The problem we have is that the outlaws are smarter than the people who are trying to regulate them.

    We can’t solve the transportation or the capital construction problems in this state yet we can spend probably millions deciding what the one minute at the beginning of the school day should be called. We can’t get together to fix the school funding problems but we can regulate video games. Because I am sure that when a teenager goes into a video store to purchase the new addition to “Kill Them All” he is stopped short when he sees that the State of Illinois says it is too graphic for him.
    I am tired of “Feel Good” legislation that attempts to regulate common sense. This is a primary example of democratic liberalism at it’s worst. We need less government and more efficient governing. But given the yahoos we have in power at the moment it is never going to happen. So we will continue to give millions away to church’s, synagogues, and private sector day care. My most fervent hope is that this State can survive the current administration and legislature.

  14. - pickles!! - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:39 am:

    Lets also ban the rubber bands or twist ties use to close the bags. those are bad, and lead to peopel sing drugs.

    Now your going to have drug delaers driving out to the suburbs to by baggies to peddle their dope in.

    The award for dumbest legislation of the year so far.

  15. - Learng the Ropes - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:43 am:

    As a strong anti-drug advocate, this makes my brain hurt. what positive result does he think this will result in? “dang… I can’t get my little baggies at Jewel-Osco. Guess I’ll give up my life of crime.” This is even worse than your standard treat the symptoms, not the cause idea.

  16. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:44 am:

    Well, it shows some creative thinking, anyway.

    Any signs of actual creative thought among our
    plumply paid and underworked public servants should be encouraged.

    Let’s try it. Let’s try anything other than same old same old Illinois corruption and waste at all levels. Let’s try anything but yet another tax hike. And let’s reward the civil servants who actually come up with something creative. Such civil servants are like black swans, they are so rare.

  17. - Trafficmatt - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:46 am:

    Ditto on nearly everything above.

    I’m sure the gross margins for the average drug kingpin would not allow them to spend 2 cents more for a slightly larger bag. I’m sure it’s tough being a drug dealer in a lousy economy. What will be the next solution? Will Chicago establish another TIF district to help bail out the struggling drug business because their profits are down due to the increased cost in bag purchases?

    Can someone please nominate these people for a Darwin Award?

  18. - Reese's Pieces - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:55 am:

    Using this logic, we should ban women from Illinois because they have the equipment to be prostitutes.


  19. - Doubtful - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:56 am:

    Hobby Lobby sells these bags at the checkout–they’re good for beads and other small embellishment items. Valdani thread is sold in these bags, and they recommend keeping the thread in there for humidity control. Are they going to crack down on all the quilting grannies? I’m going to go stock up now.

  20. - Snidely Whiplash - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:56 am:

    Yes, let’s ban all of this, for starters:

    guns, knives, all blunt instruments, including baseball bats and lead pipes (no violent crime; if thugs resort to fists, we could always enact a law ordering oby/gyns to amputate the hands from every newborn); spray paint (no more grafitti, find another way to paint your stuff); pens (used in check fraud); color copiers and all ink; (anti-counterfeiting and check fraud measure); plastic bags, paper (can’t roll joints), lighters and matches (can’t light up or cook your drugs); cars and trucks (getaway vehicles); gasoline and any other flammable liquids (arson). Welcome to the stone age.

    These bone-headed bans have to stop, before we undo 5,000 years of human progress, and we ARE all reduced to brutes beating each other with our fists over juicy nuts and berries.

  21. - Whizbang - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:57 am:

    I agree this is crazy but unfortunately you can’t nominate them for the Darwin award. To win a Darwin a person has to take themselves out of the gene pool.

  22. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 11:02 am:

    The unintended consequences are clear: ban the bags and you will create a black market for little, tiny plastic bags. You will not only have drug dealers standing on the corner, but tiny plastic bag dealers too. The black market for tiny plastic bags will explode, increasing revenue for the gangs. For the children’s sake… please don’t let this pass!

  23. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 11:06 am:

    Why not just ban the manufacture and possession of illicit drugs?

    Maybe police officers walking beats would be more effective. In Europe, police officers walk in pairs and are backed up by other officers in cars. Try this first.

  24. - b-dogg - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 11:07 am:

    no. the debate about the usefulness of the drug war is so old it is tired. NOTE TO THE GOVT of THIS COUNTRY, making drugs illegal does nothing but create crime, violence, fill our prisions and causes the state to miss out on valuable tax dollars. alcohol is a drug. let’s ban those paper bags used to hold a forty or a tall boy in while we are at it. decriminalization is the only solution left to the drug issue. i don’t use heroin because i know it will kill me, not because it is illegal. how many people have been killed in central and south america this year alone in drug related violence? decriminalize drugs and then don’t let there be any advertising for them. what is the total amount spent on advertising for beer and liquor in this country? more money than i could ever count. so we took beer ads off of NASCAR cars, big freaking deal. did anybody else notice the 8 commercials bud light had during the super bowl at $2.5million a pop?? the hypocrisy of the whole situation makes me physically ill.

  25. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 11:09 am:

    My mother uses those little resealable bags for daily medication and puts it in her purse.

    Call the Narc Squad!

  26. - Snidely Whiplash - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 11:10 am:

    11:06, that kind of police protection costs money we don’t have. The manufacture and possession of illicit drugs is ALREADY banned, and are in fact misdemeanors and felonies, depending on the drug and the amount involved. Hey, why not revoke the 1st Amendment and ban any person from being within 30 feet of any other person on a public street or in a public place? That ought to be about the accurate throwing distance for a bag of dope and a wad of cash.

  27. - Snidely Whiplash - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 11:13 am:

    Ooops, I forgot. Gotta ban the internet, so much crime being facilitated by this new avenue for criminal activity.

    Rich, since paper, ink and the internet may have to be banned, maybe you should look into reduce CapFax to shorthand symbols insribed with a toothpick onto tine clay tablets. Hey, we may just make 3,000 B.C. after all!

  28. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 11:20 am:

    I pack a snack for my kindergarten child in them. OOPS!

  29. - North of I-80 - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 11:38 am:

    uh oh: “to go after grocery stores, health food stores and other businesses”
    Those evil grocery stores and health food businesses. I am embarrassed that a cop is an advocate for this.
    Since ‘my group’ “believes” that most drug dealers are RIGHT handed, sling crack and poison our children with these right hands, we should ban ALL right hands from the city.

    Surprised Mayor Daley didn’t call for a 200% city sales tax on these killer plastic bags….

  30. - shermans' ghost - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 11:38 am:

    OMG, I’ve got it, let’s ban the drug dealers.
    Bet that will send a chill up their back.
    Oh and while were at it, let’s ban the buying of illegal drugs.
    Gee that was easy.
    Problem solved.

  31. - elephant in the room - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 11:39 am:

    Thats dumb, Im just gonna buy more crack in bigger baggies. thats all.

    or how bout outlawing aluminum foil? or how bout paper?

  32. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 11:47 am:

    What a stupid idea.

    Sounds like it was copied from the nation’s stupidest government agency, the TSA.

    You know, ban 4 ounce shampoo bottles because they are hazardous, but 3 ounce bottles are just fine, blah blah blah.

  33. - God's Country - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 11:49 am:

    Y’all aren’t thinking this through enough. Why not pass a law to make the drugs bigger?

    Problem solved.

    Vote for me this November. ;)

  34. - Bill S. Preston, Esq. - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 11:58 am:

    I don’t think it’s a bad idea. I’ve been thinking about it all morning and can’t think of a single use for those size plastic bags other than drugs. We’re talking about dime bags here guys, not sandwich bags. Plus, I think the point is to ban the sale of them in bulk to the general public. They could still be used by companies to hold electronics or extra buttons, etc.

    So dealers will find another packaging method - does that mean it’s wrong to give them one less thing to work with? Bottom line is that it’s an attempt to do something. Something is better than nothing.

  35. - Ghost - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 12:08 pm:

    I have to go with Bill S on this. There seems to be little tono real legitimate use for these (cept teeny tiny lunch delivery service courtesy of VM). Why kekep them legal? getting rid of them inconviences the public not at all. Even if they come up with a substitute system, why not make drug dealers lives more difficult or inconvient.

  36. - Fan of the Game - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 12:11 pm:

    ~~Bottom line is that it’s an attempt to do something. Something is better than nothing.~~

    Sometimes it’s a lot better to do nothing, especially if what you plan to do costs money and will have no positive effect, whatsoever.

    This proposed ordinance is just plain silliness.

  37. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 12:17 pm:

    Or better yet, how about relaxing some of these crazy drug laws. But then again, the penalties for smoking tobacco are nearly as bad as those for drugs..and as expensive too.

  38. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 12:18 pm:

    I notice on they sell all types of resealable plastic bags from the very large to very small. Seems there is a legit use for these things. Who woulda guessed? Just bought a small device over the weekend. Inside was a very small plastic bag with the 4 small screws needed as part of “some assembly required”. Must be how dealers actually ship their product. The device they sold me must be a front. No other possibility for these types of bags.

  39. - Bruno - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 12:29 pm:

    Bottom line is that it’s an attempt to do something. Something is better than nothing

    This absurd type of thinking is the foundation for nearly every stupid idea to come out of government officials.

    Though the mindset used to be reserved to those on the left of the spectrum, the idiocy has spread to the right.

    How about forming a “Let’s not” coalition of the unwilling.

    We need to do something bailout GM!!

    “Let’s not!”

    Some people overextended themselves on their mortgages, We need to do something to bail them out.

    “Let’s not!”

    If the “something” is a stupid idea, or a net negative, then the “nothing” is obviously better.

    This ban is another example of a supremely stupid idea from an increasingly out of touch political class.

  40. - Dan Tana - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 12:31 pm:

    Another jack booted Democratic dominated city showing her colors.

  41. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 12:31 pm:

    Well large amounts of drugs come in larger bags (so I hear). SO you out law the weed dime bag sack, but allow the sandwich bag that holds the ounce? Aren’t they supposed to go after the people with BIG bags of drugs?

    I used to have a friend that took part in such life styles and he NEVER got a little bag which they are discussing the ban on, they were always in sandwich bags, or, the corner of a sandwich bag. Seems retarded, yet not for the city of Chicago.

  42. - J. Bacon - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 12:31 pm:

    As stated above, something is not always better than nothing, because something costs taxpayer $ to implement and enforce. We now have the highest sales tax in the country and our $ is being spent to eradicate the scourge of plastic baggies. Glorious.

  43. - Irish - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 12:35 pm:

    Bruno, Where do I sign up? I’m in!!!! Do we get hats?

  44. - Dan Tana - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 12:35 pm:

    Legalize drugs. End the black market.

    Attack it like we do smoking with civil law and fines; ostracize the practice, and provide help to those who are addicts.

    End this futile insanity.

  45. - Puzzled - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 12:37 pm:

    When bags are outlawed, only outlaws will have plastic bags…. Wait, we can make them available with permits! A new revenue source!!

  46. - anonymiss - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 12:42 pm:

    It’s silly season at City Hall again. “Yeah, I was going to sell some dimebags, but I just can’t get my hands on those convenient little snack pack bags. Guess I won’t sell drugs after all.” Hmmm. Or you could just use a bigger bag.

  47. - Healthcare Worker - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 12:50 pm:

    Not to start a quarrel, but if you look carefully at the arguments against the ban for bags, they are the same that you see being used against the ban on firearms.

    Bans don’t solve the root problems.

  48. - RMW Stanford - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 12:53 pm:

    This is utterly worthless and stupid idea, it is time that we total rethink the “War on Drugs” it has been for the most part a failure and waste of money.

  49. - NimROD - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 1:02 pm:

    “When bags are outlawed, only outlaws will have plastic bags…. Wait, we can make them available with permits! A new revenue source!!”

    Thats it! I propose a new BOID (Baggie Owners ID) Card for all Illinois residents. For the paltry sum of $5 for four years you will be able to legally possess baggies of any caliber…er…size. Bag owners will be required to display the BOID to any law enforcement / grocery clerk who requests it. We could also complement this new ID with a three-baggie per month law and an instant state police background check for all prospective bag owners.

    George Ryan and the Republicans are starting to look pretty good by comparison.

  50. - Bud Man - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 1:05 pm:

    I see many people agree with my sentiment that is a STUPID and pointless idea. The plastic bag is not the problem! The urban plight created by the welfare state leads these persons to selling drugs. That is the problem that needs to be addressed. If the plastic bag is taken away, they will sell it in something else. What’s next? Are we going to ban all sandwich bags? How about the plastic wrapping on cigarettes or all plastic containers with a lid? We might as well ban all prescription drug containers or anything else that could ever possible be used to sell drugs in. Those small bags do have legitimate uses other than selling drugs.

    This brought to you from the great city of Chicago, where corruption gets things done.

  51. - Porter - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 1:08 pm:

    Anyone else find this excerpt interesting?

    Lt. Kevin Navarro, commanding officer of the Chicago Police Department’s Narcotics and Gang Unit, said the ordinance will be an “important tool” to go after grocery stores, health food stores and other businesses. The bags are used by the thousand to sell small quantities of drugs at $10 or $20 a bag.

    Is this just poorly stated by Lt. Navarro or did I misread it? Why are we ‘going after’ legitimate businesses when the problem is with the drug dealers? The law abiding are usually the ones punished. While I have no need for small plastic bags, it is just a continuation of the lawbreakers affecting the law abiding. Anyone else feel like a criminal when you try to buy Sudafed? The meth-heads have that under lock and key, and we all have to sign forms to purchase a legal substance…..effectively the ones punished for their actions.

  52. - Left Leaner - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 1:10 pm:

    I can’t even believe that this is a story. Ridiculous.

  53. - Muskrat - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 1:14 pm:

    Clearly the bags aren’t the problem — it’s the openings that allow drugs to be placed in the bags then taken out again. Ban the openings.

  54. - ruclueless - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 1:18 pm:

    Guess all the sewing and craft people will have to sort buttons, thread, into large boxes so we can’t see anything in the bag. Anybody been to airport and see what we give away small modest sized plastic bags. Let’s chase drug dealers not bags. Maybe we should ban bottled water because somebody might use it to mix items.

  55. - South of I-70 - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 1:32 pm:

    It’s not about the bags, it’s how the behavior of a minority of people winds up affecting us all. Now we have to go to the counter to buy cold medicine that works because of meth-heads. During finals week at ISU 20 years ago we would go out to the truck stop and buy pure ephedrine!(Trucker’s Choice pep pills for Simpsons fans)
    How about this approach: put surveillance guys on who buys the too-tiny bags, track them down and arrest people where the drugs are being divided into those small baggies. Or set up a store front called Baggies-R-Us and see what happens.
    Or, legalize marijuana like alcohol (over 21, not at work or behind the wheel) and tax the hell out of it.

  56. - Levois - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 1:34 pm:

    I’m waiting for some libertarian types to say end this drug war!

  57. - So. Il citizen - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 1:37 pm:

    Banning sandwich and snack bags has got to be a joke. Drugs and the problems associated with them have been around longer than zip lock bags.
    Question - Don’t they have more important things to talk about - like the state’s economic situation?

  58. - Crafty - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 1:40 pm:

    I had no idea I was a drug dealer. I have a stash of those baggies in my basement right now. Let’s see, I use them for buttons, heat set crystals, beads. I’ve gotten them from people selling jewelry (obviously a drug dealing front). Oh, and stampers and scrapbookers use those baggies and hair gel to create certain effects on cards. My friends and I must be the biggest drug cartel in the State.

  59. - kimsch - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 1:45 pm:

    First, criminals really don’t care about something being banned do they? Once again, how many guns are in the City of Chicago, even though they’re banned?

    I use those tiny plastic bags for beads and jewelry like - Velma - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:15 am: above and I also use them for my children’s medication when we go on day trips. The tiny bags are just the right size for a dose of medication that needs to be taken while we’re out. Much easier than carrying around medicine bottles.

  60. - Justice - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 1:49 pm:

    Now that I have stopped laughing at this lunacy, and crying at the absolute insanity of our politicians, my answer is that this is not only foolish, it is moronic. How about small pill bottles, plastic wrap, straws, wax wraps, dry prophylactics, the ends of fingers on plastic gloves used for food service? The list goes on and on. Hey….necessity is the mother of invention. Good grief folks, have we become this short-sighted? Spend time on educating our kids and less time on worrying about distribution and packaging 101. How about a Capital Budget?

  61. - Bill S. Preston, Esq. - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 2:38 pm:

    So some of you think that doing nothing at all is better? Didn’t this proposal, as idiotic and wasteful as you all think it is, start a discussion? Bring attention to a problem? What do you all propose that we do? I mean, you make your snarky comments on a blog, but what are you doing about the problem? Are you trying to do something? The idleness of the public makes me sad. But what makes me sick is the petty criticism by the few of people who make actual suggestions to make things better.

    Like I said, it may not work, but something is better than nothing. The world has turned upside down when action proves to be an easier target than inaction.

  62. - BehindTheScenes - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 2:45 pm:

    Oh, go ahead and ban the tiny bags. Since the dope is imported from out of state (even though, clearly, we have more than our share of dopes around here who think up these bans). If the dope is imported, it probably won’t take long for the bags to come in the same way. Soon, troopers will be pulling over cars near the borders suspected of smuggling in tiny bags. Sheeesh!

  63. - kimsch - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 2:49 pm:

    How on earth can banning something that has hundreds of thousands if not millions of legitimate uses an action that is better than not doing banning the product? There is an illegitimate use of the product. There are illegitimate uses of lots of products. Kitchen knives can be used to kill. But the legitimate uses outweigh the illegitimate.

    When the illegitimate uses outweigh the legitimate, I’d be willing to consider a ban.

    When the legitimate uses clearly and overwhelmingly outweigh the illegitimate - DO NOT BAN the product.

  64. - Embee - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 2:58 pm:

    To answer Mr. Preston’s comments:

    In this case, something is not better than nothing because this falls into one of two typical Chicago/Illinois pieces legislation:

    1) A bill to shovel money at a problem that requires more than monetary consideration.

    2)A bill that highlights what kind of legislator you are (i.e. “being tough on crime”), when the legislation itself lacks the imagination or the teeth to really do anything. Sure looks good when election time rolls around, though.

    So, doing something is better than nothing. But not when that something turns out to indeed be nothing.

  65. - Crafty - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 3:05 pm:

    Bill, the point is not that nothing should be done. Indeed, something should be done. The point is that this proposal was clearly not thought through. Nor does it really get to the heart of the problem. Get rid of one type of drug packaging and the dealers will come up with another. Meanwhile, the only people being hurt/punished are ones who use the product in perfectly legitmate and legal ways.

  66. - Ghost - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 3:36 pm:

    I have to disagree with everyone, cept Bill S. This proposal will cost almost nothing to implement and enforce. it does not prohibit the little plastic bags with screws in your new doll house kit BTW. There has not been a defined use for purchasing these in bulk that is legitimate. So you all are opposed to an idea tghat costs little to nothing; and makes marketung and selling illegal drugs a lot more dificult.

    So no cost, no impact on non-drug dealers/users. I would question the judgment of any elected official who opposed such a cost free method of making crime harder.

    All these comments about cost. What cost? the rare 2 minute stop by an officer on patrol to check a compliant or look for compliance? Heck we want officers on the street and randomly appearing at reatil locations anyway as a deterent to all crime.

    Now lets look at the other costs? How much do we pay police to protect us from theft and robbery commited by people addicted to drugs? costs of emergency response to assualt and battery related to use of drugs, car accidents from drug use, not to mention medical treatment of those injured by drugs and those injured by drug users. The cost we can not afford is the cost of doing nothing. The cost of making it as easy as possible for dealers to move thier product. The cost that requires we spend huge somes mopping up the effcts of drug use. Anything that makes it harder to move drugs reduces costs of crime and injury and benefits us all.

  67. - Skirmisher - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 3:46 pm:

    Ghost, you clearly need to read the posts more carefully. I have a brother, for instance, who makes and sells jewelry at craft shows. He used hundreds of these little bags every year. I have a box of them myself and find them handy for sorting tiny screws and clock parts. This legislation is simply idiotic.

  68. - kimsch - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 3:53 pm:

    Ghost, if drugs were legal there would still be unemployed people addicted to them who would still be stealing in order to feed their “now” legal addiction. The only crimes that would go down with drug legalization would be drug selling/possession crimes, not all the peripheral crimes.

  69. - Justice - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 3:54 pm:

    How about the sale of these bags on the Internet, how about the supplier of the drugs also supplying bags, how about we ban them from being made? Target the distributor and don’t permit them to use pallets, ships, cars, rail, mules. That’ll show them. Leave the bags alone and execute dealers.

  70. - Crafty - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 3:56 pm:

    Okay Bill and Ghost. Ban my convenient little bags. I’ll just find another container to hold my small bits. Just don’t be surprised when the dealers find another container to hold their drugs.

  71. - taxmandan - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 3:58 pm:

    I also use them to sort seeds that I use for my garden.

  72. - Just Maybe...... - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 4:02 pm:

    …..EVERYTHING ought to be outlawed; then, in good time; the legislature and the gov could decide what’s NOT illegal. But don’t hurry. God love us all.

  73. - Honest Abe - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 4:11 pm:

    To bad for all of those who use such plastic bags for legitimate purposes (storing jewelry, small pieces of hardware such as small screws and washers, fishing hooks and lures, golf tees, etc.).

    Good intentions, bad consequences.

  74. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 4:12 pm:

    Does anyone care that the more idiotic Chicago politics becomes, the more difficult it will be for many folks to vote for a Chicago politician when they run for national office?

    Take a look at San Francisco. Just the name creates images of bubble-headed goo-goos without deodorant or proper grooming recycling anti-war posters into hybrid cars.

    Or how about Birmingham Alabama?
    Do you think folks will happily vote for a politician from Washington DC?

    Chicago has image problems - today’s stories make this worse. With stories like the “ban baggies/ziplock” farce, Tony Rezko, deadlocked Illinois government, Mayor Daley, Dorothy Tillman, Rod Blagojevich, and high crazy taxes, a striving Chicago politician will find Americans wondering if there isn’t something naturally wrong with him, since he is from Chicago.

  75. - Muskrat - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 4:20 pm:

    One more thought, this one serious. Right now cops are allowed to pat down people for weapons in certain circumstacnes short of arrest. If they find evidence of a crime (i.e., they touch what to them feels like a bag of marijuana), a more intrusive search and arrest is legal. You want to add a paper-thin bag to the list of items that can trigger a full empty-your pockets search?

  76. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 4:27 pm:

    I ran out this morning and bought out the store’s plastic bags! When the ban comes I’ll make a killing on the street corner of my local drug neighborhood! Yea ME!

  77. - AR - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 4:28 pm:

    My mother also uses these tiny bags for buttons.
    She’ll have to fight the drug lords for them now!

  78. - Unbelievable - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 5:19 pm:

    This is Fioretti.

    He was picking up baggies. On a Sunday afternoon.

    Did they have residue?

    Used condoms are also found in public parks.

    Was Fioretti picking these up as well?

    77 comments and no one calls him personally on this.

    Which of his fellow Mensa members are on the Health Committee?

    What are THEY thinking?

  79. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 5:28 pm:

    Perhaps the solution is not a ban, but regulation. Allow the sale of tiny bags only at City Hall and at ward offices. Make them a nice pretty Chicago Blue and have the City Seal on one side and Flag on the other. Perhaps the City could even issue special commemorative edition bags honoring civic leaders, sports teams, and the like. (Remember, State law sez you’re supposed to buy tax stamps for your marijuana, so this isn’t completely wacky.)

    Coming soon to a street corner or park near you: “Who wants a dime of Loser Cubs? Who needs a bag of Old Man Fioretti?”

  80. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 5:33 pm:

    While they are at it, they should just ban cars too because the drugs wouldn’t move around without cars.

    Oh yea, and how about banning people, because drug dealers are people, therefore if we ban people, there wont be drug dealers.

    Who knows maybe we should require people to present a license and sign a book just to get a box of the bags, just like we do now to get a small box of over the counter sudofed.

    Honestly, are we really surprised, this kind of junk coming from the same city council who’s major accomplishment was banning fois gras.

  81. - Bill S. Preston, Esq. - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 6:07 pm:

    I’m not saying this should be a political priority. In fact, I’m sure that it won’t pass. Which is fine. But it starts a conversation in a realm that is largely ignored. And hopefully it will be a continuous conversation and won’t die as soon as the proposal dies. When you’re talking about a problem like drugs and dealers you have to approach it creatively and with an open mind. Ideas shouldn’t be ridiculed, they should be discussed. You know, in the same vein as ‘there are no stupid questions.’

  82. Pingback Question of the day - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 6:14 pm:

    […] Excerpt from:Question of the day Post a Comment […]

  83. - A Citizen - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 6:17 pm:

    Yes indeed, get rid of those polluting pesky plastic baggies, they are a blight on the landscape. Also our precious wildlife could choke on them and die a horrible demise. I would suggest the small 1 or 2 ounce brown glass bottles with the screw on caps would be much more presentable, and reusable also. By all means eliminate the plastic do-hickies and see how imaginative the drug lords can be. Idiots, the government is run by total idiots!

  84. - David - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 6:22 pm:

    Let’s ban stupid people from holding public office.

  85. - Bruno - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 6:35 pm:

    Bill P,

    While I understand your sentiment, this particular case is a perfect example of proposing something that is much less than nothing. It’s preposterous.

    Creative ideas to end drug abuse and drug dealing…

    How about declaring open season on drug dealers and street thugs. Blago could promise to pardon ANY person with NO criminal record and a paying job who shoots a drug dealer with a record.

    Get out of jail free for the law abiding citizen.

    Here is another idea. Forget enforcement and baggies. Just buy up some hotels that are on the financial rocks and re-open them as “Hotel Californias.”

    Any junkie can enter, sign a release, and get all the free crack, heroin, PCP and meth they can ingest.

    They can use the pools, showers, health facilities, and even the services of on premise doctors or nurses. Only one rule. They can only leave in a body bag.

    Maids clean the room, and it’s ready for check in.

    Hey!! No such thing as a bad idea, huh?

    Baggies, Bob! The bonehead wants to outlaw baggies!!!

  86. - shermans' ghost - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 6:36 pm:

    To “A Citizen”.
    Well then the people that keep electing these idiots get exactly what they want. Remember they are elected, usually over and over.

  87. - A Citizen - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 7:07 pm:

    I’m afraid you are correct - maybe we need some kind of IQ test before you can vote. Score of 25 and lower and no voting. Frankly I’m surprised some of these voters even find the polls.

  88. - NimROD - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 7:36 pm:

    “Frankly I’m surprised some of these voters even find the polls.”

    There isn’t much to be surprised about here - the Democrats bring voters of this caliber in by the busload all over the country.

    As if Motor Voter, Rock the Vote, MoveOn.Org, stacked caucus rules, attempting to lower the voting age to 17 and culling the cemeteries of Chicago don’t produce enough Democrat votes…..

  89. - Rod Blagojevich - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 7:47 pm:

    I don’t know if this is a good idea, but I’ll donate a million dollars from the state budget to the effort!

    Now PLEASE, be my friend?
    ( Love me? )

  90. - Annonymous - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 7:51 pm:

    Oh dear. I’m sure those air-tight, keep it fresh, cut-to-size Seal-A-Meal thingies are next.

  91. - A Citizen - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 7:55 pm:

    Okay then the bill will outlaw thingies and do-hickies and baggies right? I’m definitely on board! Eat your heart out Mensa Society.

  92. - bag lady - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 7:59 pm:

    I use them for a variety of purposes. cheerios for tots, which, have you ever tried to take a tot somewhere without snacks? it gets ugly. and the little bags work well for healthy food like carrots for the big kids lunches too. give them too many carrots and they’ll turn on you. and then they’ll end up taking drugs what a vicious cycle

  93. - Annonymous - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 9:54 pm:

    Citizen…did I really deserve that? lol

    What a wonderfully ambiguous world this would be if we only used words like “thingies” in our legislation!!! The focus would certainly have to shift from amendments to interpretation–and that would be so much more fun to watch on TV. Can’t you just imagine everyone pacing, shaking their heads frantically, and passing bits of paper to one another as they try to figure out what it all means?

  94. - A Citizen - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:12 pm:

    - Annonymous -
    LOL - The way you put it it could really become an art form. Do-hickies are okay though, right? Plain english legislation could be catastrophic.

  95. - Annonymous - Wednesday, Mar 5, 08 @ 10:23 pm:

    “Do-hickies” is very good. I’m sure they’ll eventually use that term within the special labelling that will be required on the thingies (if they dare leave them on the market) to ensure that anyone wearing a two-inch thingy over their face knows to remove it before attempting to breathe.

  96. - AK - Thursday, Mar 6, 08 @ 2:48 am:

    I agree to the ban of these small plastic bags. It seems everyone is confused about the size of the bags. They are just a little bigger than the nail on your thumb. These bags are used primarily by dealers to make small packages and distribute drugs. Its convenient to them. I’m sure there will be a ban on wholesale or retail sale of these bags. If some electronic has some screws in these bags for it, do you think dealers are gonna start buying electronics in bulk to get these bags? And i’m sure arts and crafts business’ can take the hit of having alternative ways to hold their products, what strings? beads? I think they would and should for the sake of making it harder for drug dealers.

    Now I disagree whether this will actually solve the drug problem. I sit here and think, some dealer kingpin will be like “oh gee, they sell these in Indiana? Canada? find a place where they sell em and lets get em wholesale.” and oh, they deal drugs….you think its hard for them to deal in plastic bags? What, they have to pay some shipping costs? I don’t think it matters when they are making thousands.

    I understand the logic, they use these bags effectively, and to ban it causes difficulty. I don’t agree with its implementation though. Saying doing something for the heck of doing it is stupid. Its a waste of time and the council should look for better more effective ways in the war on drugs

  97. - NW BuRBs - Thursday, Mar 6, 08 @ 6:27 am:

    Another brainiac whizbanger from the city council. While they’re at it, why don’t they ban every other container that could possibly be used to carry drugs. Breaking News : Thousands of sandwiches go stale as plastic bag crisis reaches a peak. Sheesh gimme a break, do they actually think this will stop someone from dealing drugs if they want. I can picture the phone call now.. Caller : Ey Jerome ! You gotsa ma crack rocks ?! Jerome : Naw man sorryz can’ts do it I got none of them small bagsies anymores, damn mini baggie ban put me out of business, Iz gone ave ta go ta school now and becom a rezpextable memba of da community.

  98. - Undercover - Thursday, Mar 6, 08 @ 8:57 am:

    I was at an event recently where Alderman Fioretti was patting himself on the back for making sure that political signs aren’t displayed incorrectly and are cleaned up after election day. He said he considered them litter. Perhaps Alderman Fioretti spends a lot of time thinking about cleaning up the superficial appearance of his ward.

  99. - global warmer - Thursday, Mar 6, 08 @ 9:51 am:

    So, we ban the small baggies. Drug dealers turn to bigger baggies. Bigger baggies use more resources to make and have more of an impact on the environment.



  100. - gogobaggies - Thursday, Mar 6, 08 @ 7:10 pm:

    Personally, this speaks to Alderman Fioretti’s care for his ward especially the westside where I happen to live. Maybe if people took the time to drive out to the economically depressed part of the 2nd ward they would understand the need for such an ordinance. Great job Alderman, I’m really glad you are our Alderman.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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