|Yo where am I going to buy my Garcia Y Vegas now?
||[Jun. 15th, 2006|10:05 pm]
The Voice of Fate
|||||some elliot smith faggoty crap for gays||]|
City of Philadelphia
City of Philadelphia - 1 -
Chief Clerk's Office
402 City Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19107
BILL NO. 060345
Introduced May 4, 2006
Councilmember O'Neill, Council President Verna, Councilmembers
DiCicco, Blackwell, Nutter, Krajewski, Kelly, Reynolds-Brown, Miller,
Goode, Tasco, Clarke, Ramos and Kenney
Referred to the
Committee on Licenses and Inspections
Amending Chapter 9-600 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled "Service Businesses," to add
new provisions to prohibit the sale, from certain retail establishments, of "blunts,"
"loosies," cigarette papers, cigars, and other items that may be otherwise legal but that
are commonly used as drug paraphernalia, under certain terms and conditions.
I don't know what they're talking about. What if sometimes I just like to smoke a Dutch Master purely for the sheer deliciousness of fine, gas-station aged tobacco. Fucking bureaucrats; we'll just see what happens on election day!
For those of you pondering exactly how this will inconvienance your attempts to smoke chron in Philadelphia, this rather lengthy bill boils down to this:
It will now be illegal for service stations, convenience stores, or any business that faces or is adjacent to a residential block to sell any tobacco product in "loose" (indivdually dispensed) form or in packets of less than six units, and never outside of a manufacturer's carton.
Exemptions apply for hotels, restaurants that seat 25 or more people, and specialty tobacco shops, but only if the retail price of an individual 'gar exceeds three dollars. There's also some junk in the end of the bill that states that (and of course this could only be quoted straight out of the bill) anything that could "convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance" cannot be sold within 500 feet of a "school, recreation center, day care center, church, or community center, regardless of the intent as to use of the item".
First of all, nothing that could "analyze", or "store" drugs? Okay, so drug testing kits are paradoxically illegal, as are all boxes or otherwise enclosed, extruded cubes. I get not wanting drugs around adorable community institutions, but making it harder to get stash boxes and specialty made, cock shaped bongs isn't going to do jack shit. There's only (approx) 2 fucking headshops in this whole city anyway, and they've already been beat to shit by other drug paraphenalia regulations. This law is silly for a city anyhow, head shop owners aren't looking to open stores in residential neighborhoods or next to ball-fields and try to hawk chillums (specifically mentioned in the bill) to tee-ball players. Those shops exist near places that are confluences for filthy hipsters, like south street and chestnut st in center city, which are crammed next to all kinds of buildings, like churches. This legislation makes no exemption for any kind of red light area, so it just serves to beat on the couple of innocuous specialty shops that already exist, and give politicians a way to justify the part of their campaign platform where they obligatorily state that they're "tough on drugs". But I'm rambling, so let me simplify all this and tell you why this whole thing is shit:
What this means for you (average, drug imbibing, but otherwise law-abiding citizen): You have to start buying blunts in bulk. If you are the evil proprietor of a head shop, your days of selling bongs to school children and nuns are over, hippie.
What this means for you (gun carrying, drug running shitbag/gang leader/urban methlord/part of the problem): Nothing. Wait, they make glass shit that you can smoke out of now? Damn! What'll they think of next.
Alright, blah blah blah. I can hear your inner monologue right now, "Ryan, you're just pissed because you love drugs and this makes it slightly more difficult to entertain such a hobby". Be that as it may, that's not really why I've bothered to extend this originally jocular entry into a festering diatribe. There is a legitimate problem with drugs in this city. Crack and cocaine have created drug empires and let a lot of bad motherfuckers make inordinately large amounts of cash (a raid in Hunting Park a few months ago yielded 3 mil in cash). There are places in this city where it is appallingly easy to get drugs, and a few of those places are elementary schools (I'm not making that shit up either). Okay, why do people go to all this risk just for some drug money. The government claims it is because they are A) Evil, B) Greedy, or C) Lazy. While my arrogant, post-modernist philosophy precludes me from accepting the first reason, the other two reasons just don't cut it for me. Greed certainly has a part to play, but when you come down to it, people don't usually like to risk having their person exposed to things like say, bullets, just for greed. By this logic there would be a lot more amateur mercenaries and bank robbers. Even in our capitalistic society, people usually only accept so much risk in the acquisition of wealth. This same argument can be applied to laziness (except maybe for spoiled college students that want money but don't want to actually work, but they scarcely count since the odds of a rich kid getting busted for drugs around here is miniscule).
This is what I'm getting at: the rampant drug trade in our city isn't stemming from the character flaws. No, it's born out of desperation and necessity. We have rampant unemployment and a huge gap between the rich and poor. How the fuck are you supposed to support a family or go to school when you can't get a fucking loan or a job that pays more than minimum wage. This is all supposing that you can get a job at all, and good fucking luck if you were unlucky enough to be born black and in north philly. Rich white folks still run 80% of the business in this city and (surprise!) they don't have a tremendous amount of love for brothers from the hood. I'm not saying that its all their fault, but how is one supposed to be upwardly mobile and legit in that kind of situation? It's not that no one can succeed, but the bar for raising yourself out of poverty and ignorance is high enough to preclude most average people from ever coming near that mark. So you sell drugs cause you want to go to school, have kids or eat non-chinese food or do anything that low-wage jobs keep you from doing. Or, you do drugs because your life sucks, and what the hell else do you can you do/have to do. Shit, 90% of my (relatively) rich white friends do drugs, and our lives are (relatively) great! How could I blame someone else for wanting to take the edge off? Anyway, the cycle goes on, depression and poverty fueling dealer and addict. I'm really dragging on, so I'll just finish with an anecdote and spare you an addiction is/is not criminal speil:
A man from Germantown was named "father of the year" by People magazine last year, because he apparently got a job and overcame poverty. He was raising his children right and doing everything a good hardworking American is supposed to. He was shot dead in a supermarket a few months ago, because it turns out he was running krill on the side and didn't pay his supplier back fast enough. This guy was selling to help pay for the expense of being a single father, that's it. No greed, no evil, not lazy, just couldn't quite make ends meet and keep his little girl on track. I think this is less of an isolated incident than it might sound. I think you have wages and economic oppurtunities that are so scarce that the large part of the population that doesn't/can't get a college degree starts to look for ways out of a lifetime of floor mopping and fashion buggery in obscurity. If government wants the drug trade to stop, they need to stop trying to pound individuals into submission, and start making some fucking jobs. The reason this never happens is (this whole litany is full of surprises) politicians would always rather make simple and symbolic gestures than difficult but meaningful ones. They don't give two fucks that one of the reasons we have so many dealers is our city owes to our leaders own incompetance over the last 30 years, and their ability to somehow stave off meaningful economic growth while other east coast cities are recovering from years of blight.
But where were we? Right, the blunt bill. If I might be even more bluntastically blunt, this law will not deter one person from buying drugs or stop one person from selling, and will probably just create an incentive for drug dealers to sell loosies alongside their weed. This might force a head shop to close, which makes Philadelphia's pretend "red light" district of South Street even more hokey and ribaldrious, instead of interesting. Not to mention that that's more business lost for the city, something we don't need to pass laws to encourage. I would actually bet that the revenue lost from blunt sales alone in Philadelphia amounts to about a billion dollars annually (at 1 dollar a blunt, it has to be somewhere around there, if my estimates are correct). That's a thousand out of work chinese, sheiks and arab cornerstore or gas station owners. Now they have no choice but to smoke or sell opium all day long and now we're really fucked. I'm fucking around, but honestly, legions of crack addicts and dealers arise from the mire of desperation and unemployment, its that simple. Perhaps the government ought to address those issues instead of trying to take petty armchair jabs at anything that analyzes or stores drugs (I include myself and a number of other philadelphians as things do both OR have the potential to do either).
If you read all this, I love you.