Drug War

Cigar Makers Defeat Blunt Ban, Push Wrapper Ban

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Last week the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned a 2006 Philadelphia ordinance that restricted cigar sales to discourage the practice of hollowing them out and using them to smoke pot. The ordinance banned the sale of flavored cigars and required that other cigars be sold in quantities of three or more; it included additional penalties for prohibited cigar sales within 500 feet of a church, school, recreation center, day care center, or community center. One of the plaintiffs that successfully challenged the law was the Cigar Association of America (CAA), which said legal products should not be banned simply because they can be used for illegal purposes. Yet the very same trade group is now encouraging state legislators to ban the sale of cigar wrappers because they can be used for illegal purposes. What explains this puzzling inconsistency? It may have something to do with the fact that the CAA's members do not sell cigar wrappers, which take business away from them whether used to make cigars or giant joints. But the group is not motivated purely by the desire to crush the competition. It also wants to score cheap P.R. points:

The cigar group, which represents manufacturers, is planning to argue in Salem, [Oregon,] as it has been contending in other state capitals, that the reputation of its own products is being sullied by the marketing of these wrappers to pot smokers under the guise of being part of the cigar culture.

"We don't want to be connected with drugs," [lobbyist Paul] Cosgrove said. "We have a legitimate, lawful product."

The Pennsylvania ruling, which concludes that Philadelphia's cigar ban is pre-empted by state law, is here (PDF). In a 2009 Reason feature story, I explained how innocent items become drug paraphernalia.

[Thanks to NORML's Allen St. Pierre for the tip.]

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  1. Fucking consistency, how does it work?

  2. “We don’t want to be connected with drugs,” [lobbyist Paul] Cosgrove said. “We have a legitimate, lawful product.”

    I dunno if you’ve been keeping up with the latest pharmacological news Paul, but tobacco is a drug. It may be legal (for now) but it is still a mind altering drug.

    1. And let’s ask the people that manufacture Phillies (and White Owl, Garcia y Vega, and Dutch Masters) how they feel about the drug culture’s fascination with their products.

  3. Hey man, we just sell one of the most addictive substances on the planet. It’s not like we’re selling drugs, you know.

  4. man, everyone is out to rain on someone’s parade…

  5. can cigars still be used in a Bill Clinton-esque manner?

  6. Ban cigars; they are nothing but trouble

  7. Ban blue dresses; they are nothing but trouble

  8. Ban penises; they are replaceable

  9. Has anyone done a Clinton joke yet? Because I got a great one.

    1. Sometimes a cigar is only a dildo.

    2. lol. A mandatory 6 are required; your turn FOT

    3. No, I haven’t heard any Clinton jokes yet, Fist. Just some whore with a pickle up her cunt whining about something or other.

      1. Wouldn’t you love to whisper in my ear dirty cunt…dream fucking on!

        1. What’s an ear dirty cunt? I must need a review on the anatomy of blogwhores.

          1. helle, we could have had so much fun but I don’t fuck bitches

  10. I’m surprised they still sell Shermans since it is popular to dip them in PCP. The government is asleep on this one, its only been 25 years. lol.

    1. I’m not attacking you personally, but I saw a lot of language similar to that when I was in my high school health class in the bad old days when dinosaurs walked the earth.

      In that class I was told the many dangers of cannabis, one of which was “MJ cigarettes are often laced with PCP or LSD”. There were many other strange statements of that sort. I wondered how much research was done by the textbook manufacturers to back up those “often” or “usually” statements.

      1. For a while in DC, ’88 or so, it really was hard to find buds that weren’t dipped.

        I mean, it wasn’t impossible, but you had to go out of your way.

        …or so I heard!

      2. No OMG, I’m talking about the shit on the street in the late 70’s-early 80’s when it was popular in the inner cities to take Sherman brand cigarettes and dip them in PCP. Another variation was Kool Menthols dipped in PCP. They were called Sherms or Koolies and it was reported on the news frequently that PCP crazed suspects with “super human strength” were terrorizing police and provoking a lot of police violence.

      3. A “sherm” is a common method for PCP ingestion. It’s not a scare story, and it has nothing to do with drugs being “laced” without the user’s knowledge.

  11. it included additional penalties for prohibited cigar sales within 500 feet of a church, school, recreation center, day care center, or community center.

    This reminds me of the people who don’t want a mosque built near Ground Zero. I’ll stand up for anyone who wants to build a mosque or a tobacco store. The latter group is woefully under protected, because it is socially acceptable to hate tobacco sellers.

    1. How about a tobacco store….in a mosque….that sells cigars….. SHAPED LIKE A MOSQUE!? Huh!?!

      Where does the madness end!!!!11 1one!!!

  12. So we’d better ban apples and empty soda/beer cans….and spoons…and wine bottles….cause I and many others have used those to smoke pot.

    Fuck – sorry, don’t mean to give them ideas…

    1. Man, what can not be used to smoke pot?

  13. ” & then he passed me a blunt
    like a tree trunk
    I tried to hit it
    but couldn’t even fuck widdit “

  14. Does anyone buy Phillies, or Swishers, or White Owls, to actually smoke them as actual cigars?

    1. Only the old guys at OTB.

    2. I used Swishers to quit smoking cigs. Didn’t inhale but gave me the oral fixation. Hated it for a couple weeks, but eventually it worked.

    3. Yup, back in my college days, they were a staple in one of my more party-heavy apartments I used to live. Half a dozen cheap cigars, a bottle of Jack Daniels or two, and as many decent looking girls as we could muster. We thought we were classy as hell at the time too, hahaha.

      I still like a genuinely good cigar now and then, although it makes me question question my past judgement in smoking strawberry flavored White Owls.

    4. A New York City councilman, in the recent debate over flavored tobacco, admitted to smoking the occasional grape-flavored cigar, and was the only councilman to oppose the ban on flavored tobacco. His admission simultaneously repulsed me and filled with admiration for his honesty.

  15. whether used to make cigars or giant joints

    Nitpick here, but a blunt is not a giant joint. A giant joint is a giant joint. A blunt has the tobacco wrapping, which makes the taste and buzz quite a bit different.

    Of course, those weirdos across the pond blend tobacco in with their shit anyway. I never got that — it’s like pouring some Miller Lite into your fine aged scotch.

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