I’m in Boston, attending the Internet & Society conference at the Berkman Center tomorrow and Friday. I was perusing the Boston free paper on the metro (which they call “the T” here and which, incidentally, totally sucks compared to the DC metro — more on that later, with photographic evidence. and probably more on the conference later, too. but anyways…), in which I read an article on what seems to be a truly bizarre government crackdown: the war on little plastic tubes full of fake roses.
“The look like novelty items, but they’re not. For sale at convenience stores in Boston are four-inch glass tubes featuring fake mini-roses inside of them. They are crack pipes.”
Well, not necessarily. I may be being naive here, but I highly doubt that EVERYONE who buys these novelty items intends to smoke crack out of them, that they were solely manufactured in order for crackheads to smoke out of, and that all the Boston-area convenience stores that sell them are part of this nefarious plot.
Nonetheless, Boston city councilors are trying to pass a city ordinance banning the sale of these items, with a penalty of $300 for each rose-tube/pipe found in a convenience store.
“As a community, we need to work together on issues of drugs and violence,” said (City Councilor Chuck) Turner. “The business community needs to work with us as well. We have to find many creative ways to lessen the use of drugs.”
Righhhhtttt … because the only reasons people are smoking crack currently in Boston is because of the ready availability of these rose pipes. And they won’t just find other products to make crack pipes out of. And it’s up to convenience store owners to determine and police how people use any of the items they sell …
I know the panic over meth addicts using Sudafed to make the drug has led the common flu remedy to become an over-the-counter product, and there’s currently a trend-panic over “cheese,” the combination of Tylenol PM and Heroin .. but this whole rose/pipe thing just seems especially bizarre. There are about 8-hundred-billion ordinary products that can have more shady, if you will, uses (remember gravity bongs?). Attempts to ban these products (or make them less easily available) in an attempt to curtail illegal drug use is, well, futile at best, and a waste of legislator’s time (and resources) and an unfair intrusion on consumers at worst. Or maybe the other way around. Either way…