By Aaron Kesel
A city in California has bizarrely passed a law that bans the distribution of or sale of plastic straws, with the harsh penalty of a business or employee giving them out being jail time.
“The city of Santa Barbara has passed an ordinance that will allow restaurant employees to be punished with up to six months of jail time or a $1,000 fine for giving plastic straws to their customers,” said Katherine Timpf for the National Review.
In June, the city of Santa Barbara passed legislation banning the distribution or sale of plastic straws at bars, restaurants, and fast food places.
The first offense warrants a warning without a fine, while repeat offenders will face the full wrath of the straw (law).
The directive will start on January 1st, 2019, after which residents found to be breaking the straw (law) will face a stark maximum fine of $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
Despite the ban on straws, the law includes a section for exemptions under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The maximum penalty in contrast to Seattle is clearly noticeable which has a maximum fine of just $250 for residents found to be breaking the straw (law) without any jail time.
However, as explained by Santa Barbara’s Environmental Services Outreach Coordinator, Bryan Latchford, the hefty fine and possible prison sentence will only be for businesses who repeatedly refuse to abide by the new law.
“Jail time or stiff fines are not the intent for first-time offenders,” said Latchford told KEYT.
This epidemic of strawable proportions, no matter how many times this author wishes to make straw jokes, is spreading.
Disney just announced that it will be banning straws on the heels of Starbucks announcing its departure from handing out straws to customers.
These aren’t the only companies that are now pushing for a straw-free world. A list of companies including – Disney, Starbucks, Marriott Hotels, Royal Caribbean cruise liner, Hilton Hotels, Sea World, IKEA, American Airlines, and many more are pushing to phase out straw use.
We’re removing plastic straws in our stores globally by 2020—reducing more than 1 billion plastic straws per year from our stores.
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) July 9, 2018
In April, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced she planned to ban the commercial use of disposable plastic products such as cotton buds, drink stirrers and plastic straws in response to plastic marine pollution. She further urged other Commonwealth leading countries to follow suit.
May claimed that single-use items like plastic straws are “one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world” in a meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government, ABC reported.
Plastic isn’t biodegradable, it kills vital ocean life, and finding a way to get rid of plastic straws hasn’t been easy. So to replace plastic straws makes somewhat sense.
However, while supporting the environment is critical for us as a species, it should also be noted that this specific ban could negatively affect people with disabilities who require plastic straws in order to drink.
In an article for The HuffPost, Robyn Powell, who describes herself as “a proud disabled woman,” wrote, “People with disabilities want to save the planet. We also need to be able to drink. These two positions do not have to be mutually exclusive. Banning plastic straws entirely is not the answer.”
In other words, soon coming across a plastic straw will be as rare as seeing an old vinyl record player. Whereas it’s good for the environment, making laws like those in Santa Barbara may be pushing things a little too far. Should someone really be sent to jail for giving someone a straw?
The reactionary response to ludicrous laws is of course obviously going to be memes, and as RT reports trolls are already pushing “come and take it” straw memes. I guess they shouldn’t have forced us to break the straw.
The scene in California where pot is legal and plastic drinking straws are not: pic.twitter.com/43Pfzq7bKn
— Mitch (@mitch_won) July 27, 2018
This is an assault straw. I will give it up when you pry it out of my cold dead empty McDonalds super sized drink cup. pic.twitter.com/tqnXd5EPeP
— OMJD molṑn labé ن ♞✟ (@jabob99) July 27, 2018
Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.
Top Image Credit: Mercola.com