8 Really Bad Laws That Just Went Into Effect

From cellphone tracking in Connecticut to gummy bear bans in Colorado and bitcoin surveillance in Japan



Every year, thousands of new laws go into effect across the country on October 1. States use the start of the fiscal year to begin enforcing these laws. A sobering number of these laws will turn out to be bad.

Federal agencies and even some foreign countries revel in imposing all new manner of unnecessary authority today. On this day, for example, the United Arab Emirates started levying a 100 percent excise tax on products like tobacco and energy drinks and 50 percent for soda today.

There are much worse laws than that. Here are eight of the worst going into effect today around the country and around the world!

Touching your phone in Oregon

From this day forward, Oregon drivers are prohibited from touching their cellphones while operating their vehicles, except to make a single swipe intended to turn a phone off. While lawmakers passed the prohibition to make it easier for cops to enforce cellphone while driving laws, the "single swipe" exception is sure to muddy that.

The law will apply to cellphones, tablets, and GPS devices, but not for police officers, of course.

"You don't want to hurt anybody else just to answer a simple text," Officer Jeremy Shaw told KOBI 5.

Gummy bear-ijuana ban in Colorado

As of today, gummy bears, chocolate bunnies, and other playfully-shaped marijuana edibles are banned in Colorado, where recreational marijuana has been legal since 2014.

Despite a steep drop in teenage marijuana use after legalization, the state Assembly continues to harbor misguided idea that it needs to ban adult products to protect children.

There is no evidence children hunger for marijuana edibles—nevertheless the new law is specific and wide-ranging in its ban on "edible marijuana-infused products in the shape of a human, animal or fruit… including shapes that resemble or contain characteristics of a realistic or fictional human, animal, or fruit, including artistic, caricature, or cartoon renderings."

You'll still be able to purchase plain-looking edibles, the law clarifying that edibles in "geometric shapes and simply fruit flavored are not considered fruit and are permissible."


Cellphone tracking in Connecticut

Among the 140 laws going into effect in Connecticut today is one that aims to regulate cellphone tracking by police agencies. Unfortunately, the law gives cops too much discretion to use the cell site simulator devices that make phone tracking possible.

Specifically, the law permits police to use such devices for 48 hours without a court order during "exigent circumstances" (despite it not taking nearly that long to obtain a warrant even in an "exigent" circumstance) and for two weeks under an "ex parte court order," which means police don't have to notify anyone about the tracking.

Legislators also brought in use of cell site simulators to intercept communications under the state's wiretap laws, allowing prosecutors to ask a three-judge panel to issue ex parte wiretap orders for them.

Enhanced sentencing for crimes against first responders

In Nevada, enhanced penalties kick in today for hate crimes committed against first responders, including police and firefighters, because they are first responders. Criminals convicted of such crimes can face between 1 and 20 years in prison on top of the sentence for the crime. The enhancement, at least, can't exceed the length of the original sentence.

Critics of hate crime laws have been warning since the 1990s that hate crimes, which rely on the speech of a suspect for proof, would end up being used by those in power to punish speech offensive to them. Last year, Louisiana became the first state to make killing a cop a hate crime. Momentum, meanwhile, is growing for a federal version of such a "blue lives matter" law.

Fracking ban in Maryland

After a two year moratorium, Maryland this year passed a complete ban on fracking, which goes into effect today. The law is not based on sound science but on rank fearmongering.

A 2015 study from Yale found that fracking does not contaminate drinking water, a popular bugaboo for fracking opponents. The Obama Environmental Protection Agency also found fracking had a negligible effect on drinking water.

Other lies about fracking have also helped to motivate opposition to fracking—fracking does not make it possible to light your drinking water on fire. Fracking fluid can't seep into groundwater and poison your tap, Fracking doesn't increase air pollution. It doesn't cause cancer. And the natural gas freed by fracking is decidedly better than coal.

Unfortunately, Maryland is the latest but unlikely the last place where hysteria has won out over science.

Continuing education for cosmetologists

The Maryland General Assembly should take a collective bow for making it twice on this list. A new law in effect today gives the State Board of Cosmetologists (yes, there is such a thing for the people who do make-up professionally) the authority to require most cosmetologists to complete continuing education classes to be renew their licenses.

At least 33 states and the District of Columbia require cosmetologists to be licensed, often requiring more than 1,000 hours of training to qualify. Maryland requires 1,500 hours or a two-year apprenticeship, which requires a license of its own.

Remove your electronics and prepare for pat-down

Starting today, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) will require all passengers going through security screening to remove any electronics larger than a cellphone from their bags and place them in separate bins.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly announced the new regulations in June, prompted by reports that terrorists were now capable of hiding bombs in large electronics. Finally, our wait is over.

A four-month delay in implementation seems excessive if the threat was as dire as the DHS suggested. On the other hand, four months of passengers getting through security checkpoints without taking out their electronics without incident suggests the threat might be less dire than DHS suggested.

Most of what the TSA does at airports is kabuki security theater. The agency has wasted billions of dollars, while perfecting the fine art of harassing travelers.

Bitcoin surveillance

Japan legalized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in April, and today all cryptocurrency exchanges must be registered with the country's Financial Services Agency (FSA).

The agency will monitor the exchanges' internal system and, according to the Japan Times, conduct on-site inspections as necessary. In preparation, the FSA assembled a 30-person "surveillance team" to oversee the exchanges. Such mandatory government regulation runs counter to the purpose of decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Japan is separately considering a plan to create its own digital currency to completely eliminate cash, and the anonymity that comes with it, by 2020.

NEXT: Is That Poll That Found College Students Don't Value Free Speech Really 'Junk Science'? Not So Fast

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  1. When everything is a hate crime, everything will be.

    Maryland, be prepared. The great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is about to drink your milkshake. Drink it up.

    Connecticut citizens, I fear you’re in danger of letting your bureaucrats get off the leash.

    1. Maryland ‘s milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.

      1. … so that they can more easily be arrested for violating this week’s thought crime du jour.

        1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

          This is what I do… http://www.startonlinejob.com

  2. I remember when it was easy to travel throughout North America on only a drivers license.

    The terrorists/government won. The citizenry never had a chance.

    1. So you’re OK with sex offenders “touching” a 3-yr-old cellphone? Anarchist pervert!

      1. It was only a single swipe. Honest!

        1. Bad touch!

    2. I remember when driver’s licenses were paper because that was all they were for- driving proficiency.

      1. We should have just told the states to buzz off, like Badnarik.

  3. TSA describes the entire federal government; Totally Sucks (at) Anything.

    This is headed where I thought I was joking and said ‘they will wind up stripping everyone completely naked and handcuffing them to their seat. Then they will ship all the luggage by Fed-Ex ground.’.

    1. That was the one error in Ed’s article. TSA really stands for “Transport Sozialist Arbeiterpartei,” or, more affectionately, the The Airport Gestapo.

      1. “Tough Shit America”

      2. Touch Some Ass

  4. This side of the pond, April 1 is for some reason more popular. Irony is usually lost on them.

    (Fiscal year coincides with calendar year in most of continental Europe.)

  5. “You’ll still be able to purchase plain-looking edibles”
    I see the Amish mafia is carving itself out a piece of the mj market. Nice.

    1. Silver lining: Pi-shaped, hyperboloid and fractal edibles might at least rekindle some interest in studying math.

      1. hypercube shaped edibles?

        1. Maybe in the shape of an unfolded tesseract? Just don’t shake them too much.

  6. Effin’ freeloaders in Connecticut. Love the cheaper gas but don’t want to help cause it. How about a $0.50/gal hypocrisy surcharge on gasoline sold in states that ban fracking?

    1. The ban is on natural gas fracking in Maryland, but yes….the eco-nazis hate anything that resembles a solution for climate change, including the 50% fewer carbon emissions of nat gas. They don’t like it because they want us to be dependent on wind, solar, unicorn farts, and pixie dust.

      1. Yeah, solar and wind are subsidized by fossil fuels big time. How? Mining, manfacturing, trucking, shipping, installation, etc, all done using much cheaper fossil fuels. Imagine if the steel mills, aluminum smelters, etc, all had to be powered by solar and wind!

        Even Google has worked this out and have abandoned their big renewables efforts. They just don’t publicize it because it goes against the narrative and they want to appear virtuous.

  7. I disagree that a ban on the sale of marijuana-infused gummy bears is worse than a 100% excise tax on tobacco and a 50% one on soda.

    1. Kind of want to add a few awfulness points to those just because it’s in Saudi Arabia.

  8. Most of what the TSA does at airports is kabuki security theater.

    I’d prefer a good security minstrel show.

    1. Security slapstick.

      1. Hand out loaded 45 caliber pistols with a full load of ammo and require being able to get 6/10 in the center before being able to board the plane.

        1. Just give everyone a baseball bat.

          1. Oh, you have a box cutter? Thwack.

      2. How about bukake security theater?

  9. Ed is cranking out some prizewinning journalism here. Every one of these DemoGOP and Mohammedan usurpations was assented to by people who lacked the gumption to cast Libertarian spoiler votes. This is an impressive list of reasons for cultivating the courage to stand apart from the stampeding herd. Bravo!

  10. Ban on touching cell phones? How about a ban on touching one’s privates while driving? A friend of mine was an EMT and responded to several crashes where this was the cause.

  11. remove any electronics larger than a cellphone

    The regulation precisely defines “electronics”, “larger”, and “cellphone” so that there is no confusion, right? RIGHT?!

    *** clicks link ***

    Apparently not. However, TSA officers will be stationed in front of the checkpoint X-ray machines to guide passengers through the screening process, so no problem.

    1. I thought you had to put laptops in a separate bin. At least I used to.

      I only fly about once a year and every time I fly the rules are different, so it’s helpful having a burly man at the head of the line repeatedly yelling the instructions of what we need to do this time.

      and by the way, they define cell phone as an old Motorola flip phone so all new phones are ‘larger than a cell phone’.

      1. I think they mean iPads and the like.

  12. The law will apply to cellphones, tablets, and GPS devices, but not for police officers, of course.

    Do any laws apply to police officers?

    1. Yes, if you kill one it’s a hate crime.

      1. I guess you’re not allowed to touch them either while you’re driving, but they can touch themselves. Probably do.

  13. You forgot one.

    Passed earlier this summer, the law will financially penalize social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, if they don’t remove hate speech?as per its definition in Germany’s current criminal code?within 24 hours. They will be allowed up to a week to decide for comments that don’t fall into the blatant hate speech category.

  14. ‘Japan is separately considering a plan to create its own digital currency to completely eliminate cash, and the anonymity that comes with it, by 2020.’

    The last time I lived in Japan (2008-2011) I found it interesting the amount and type of transactions that were routinely carried out in cash even as more and more variety of electronic payments were being used for every day purchases. Most surprising was that many large personal financial payments were still in cash. For example, it was still required then (don’t know about now) to pay your deposit along with first month’s rent in cash on the apartment you are moving into. The deposit is usually two months rent. My apartment was about $2,900/month so I had to get in Yen the equivalent of $8,700 in cash to hand to my land lord.

    1. $8,700.00 in CASH????

      Damn drug dealer!!

      In this country you would have had those ill gotten gains of your criminal enterprise grabbed from your still warm hands to prevent you from continuing your evil ways.

      1. And it would be a structuring felony if you split it into two equal payments.

    2. and isn’t $8700 like 4 billion yen?

      1. Exchange rate fluctuates of course, but 1 yen is usually about a penny. So just multiply by 100 to get a rough dollar equivalent.

          1. Divide by 100 to convert yen to dollars. Roughly.

          2. Whoops, yeah. Meant it the other way, multiply 100 by he dollar amount to get the yen amount.

  15. Edibles shaped like Dots will be fine till somebody realizes they look like abstracted nipples, then they’ll be considered fun and they’ll be illegal.

  16. Where is the online currency’s physical “site” that Japanese FSA proposes to inspect?

    1. There has to be a computer somewhere. They can stare at the CPU.

  17. So there are now laws against swiping phones?

    1. Can’t even touch it except to decline a call or something. Because declining calls is worth sacrificing whatever imaginary public safety goal they used to justify the ban.

  18. How is nobody discussing how Trump got rid of Tom Price from the Republican side of Congress.

    He was a RINO and was constantly reelected. Its pretty great to get him to voluntarily leave his Congressional seat, then be appointed to a cabinet position and then fired from said cabinet position to never be in politics again.

    This is what Trump should have done to Pelosi and other Democrats too.

  19. Alien edibles and ghost edibles still cool?

    1. “including shapes that resemble or contain characteristics of a realistic or fictional human, animal, or fruit,”

      1. Pretty sure aliens aren’t human…maybe Klingon or Romulan but not human. And if they make tomato shaped gummies is that allowable? Technically they are a fruit but most of us don’t think of them that way.

  20. I hereby propose legislation to accomplish the following:

    Invalidate all laws predicated on the assumption that doing or not doing something in the car is any of the State’s goddamned business unless you hurt somebody or damage property. At the same time, alter the penalties,for vehicular homicide so that being drunk, being drugged by your own hand, being distracted by your phone (or a set of lips) counts as hitting somebody deliberately.

    End drug prohibition for a period not less than ten years, after which there will be guidelines for reinstating bans on drugs where a DIRECT cause and effect relation between use and lawlessness can be shown.

    Give the TSA a five day grace period to shut down, after which active agents will be hunted down and shot. At the same time, allow anyone with a valid concealed carry license covering both the start and end of their journey to take their loaded gun onto the plane. Also, allow the involuntary commitment to a mental institution to anyone who opposes guns on planes who cites the film GOLDFINGER as a reason, with special emphasis on persons holding elective office.

    Any more suggestions?

    1. Yes, fuck your “end for a period not less than 10 years” and enshrine a permanent constitutional prohibition on any further prohibitions of any kind of narcotic for any reason under any circumstance ever, with no exceptions, allowances or excuses.

      Failure of Federal, state or local officials to comply with this imperative being punishable by the same regimen suggested by the esteemable Mr. Schofield for former agents of the Transportation Security Administration, with an added waiver of said officials’ 8th Amendment rights for a 48 hour period after their detention.

      1. I’m not quite willing to go that far. I’m prepared to believe that there may, now or someday, be drugs so generally disruptive that they need to be banned or tightly controlled. I just don’t think (what with all the lying done on all sides) that we have any idea what those are.

        Considering the ongoing problem with antibiotic over-use, that might be something we think about controlling.


        The thing is, we need to get back to the idea that any law that doesn’t work can be repealed…including the repeal. Very little should be graven in stone. Granted that most of what SHOULD be so graven limits the power of the State.

        1. “I’m prepared to believe that there may, now or someday, be drugs so generally disruptive that they need to be banned or tightly controlled”

          Sir! Mr. Schofield sir! Terrible news! The day you have warned of has come to pass! There is a drug wreaking havoc and destroying mens’ lives across the country! I know you’re skeptical of drug laws, but the evidence is in, a consensus has been reached, and the will of the people has spoken!

          It’s called “marihuana”.

          -the President Schofield administration, 1934

          1. To which I would reply (but if nominated I would not run) “Show me the proof that it is destroying more lives per annum than we destroyed with the War on Drugs”

            Don’t think they can do that. OTOH, someday some imbecile might actually cook up a street drug that addicts really like, amd which causes people to regularly run amok.,like, you know, Socialism.

            1. That’s not really a great analogy, given that it implies we should ban the ideology of Socialism. Which would be a classic example of “cutting off your First Amendment to spite your face”.

              My point was that according to a seemingly permanent electoral consensus, our CURRENT War on Drugs is not “destroying more lives per annum than we destroyed with the War on Drugs”. EVERY drug is “that one drug” to most people.

              Maybe President Schofield would knock each down as it came, but I think your reference to antibiotics shows that you too are incapable of resisting the urge to believe that *you*, of all the ones who tried before, are the one guy who will finally “get it right”. Finally find the “right” thing to ban, to control, to subject to “common sense”. But there is no “right thing” to ban. You’ll just join all the others before who thought they could wield the One Ring for the side of good.

              You give them ONE opening, and they’ll take it all. Like a leak in a submarine. And so, we should give them no openings. A new Amendment for the Right of Bodily Self-Determination is in order.

        2. Also, it would be nice if antibiotics weren’t overused, but it would only have delayed the inevitable by a few years, tops. It’s not an example of “market failure”, just of “Darwinian success” that can’t be stopped.

  21. “the United Arab Emirates started levying a 100 percent excise tax on products like tobacco and energy drinks and 50 percent for soda today.”

    Awww, that’s so sweet! You’re just the BEST!

    -local drug smugglers

  22. “ban on “edible marijuana-infused products in the shape of a human, animal or fruit”

    Gummies in the shape of AR-15s, Glocks and Kalashnikovs it is!


    1. Okay, so maybe not the best day for this joke.

      Ah, well, it coulda been worse: at least I managed to avoid making light of the Holocaust or black slavery. This time.

      1. At least you’re trying. That’s all that really matters, right?

  23. “After a two year moratorium, Maryland this year passed a complete ban on fracking, which goes into effect today. The law is not based on sound science but on rank fearmongering.”

    Awww, that’s so sweet! You’re just the BEST!

    -President Putin

  24. “The Maryland General Assembly should take a collective bow for making it twice on this list. A new law in effect today gives the State Board of Cosmetologists (yes, there is such a thing for the people who do make-up professionally) the authority to require most cosmetologists to complete continuing education classes to be renew their licenses.”

    You had ONE job, Commerce Clause. You had ONE JOB!

    1. I’m against occupational licensing laws, but how does a manicure qualify as interstate commerce?

      1. It’s not the manicure, it’s the licensing. Licensing and zoning regulations are 2 of the biggest reasons that people in states that suffered severe job losses (eg the Rust Belt states) can’t afford to move to where the capital went and start new lives.

        The government uses the Commerce Clause for the stupidest shit imaginable. This is the one time they actually have an excuse to wield it. As noted libertarian scholar Hans Gruber would put it:

        “The US government loves rattling its saber, now it’s going to rattle it for {disenfranchised Appalachian workers}.”

      2. You haven’t been paying attention to the Supreme Court for the last 200 years. Everything qualifies as interstate commerce, whether it’s interstate, commerce, or neither.

        1. Except when it’s occupational licensing, transporting firearms, or civil asset forfeiture at airports from out-of-state residents.

          Because the feds wouldn’t want to interfere with the ability of states to *tyrannize* people. That’s a God-given right of the local community!

        2. Jacking qualifies because if you aren’t jacking you are paying for an interstate sex slave.

  25. If you are a resident of Maryland and a cosmetologist you should contact the Institute For Justice ( http://www.ij.org )
    The IJ fights unnecessary licensing and business protectionism where existing businesses get laws passed to eliminate competition. IJ has been quite successful in this area. The Maryland law seems to have been created to generate more business for cosmetology schools in MD. The IJ successfully won numerous lawsuits against states that required hair braiders to attend cosmetology school and be licensed. ( cosmetology schools don’t teach hair braiding ) It won a lawsuit against the NC Dental Commission which prohibited anyone other than a licensed dentist fro whitening teeth. ( You could by the whitening products at Walmart and do your own, but non-dentists were prohibited from opening a tooth whitening business )

  26. “Enhanced sentencing for crimes against first responders”

    How do courts even pretend that these kinds of laws square with that whole “equal protection under law” thing? If the penalty for killing person 1 is more severe than the penalty for killing person 2, then there clearly is not a state of equal protection.

    1. What about when some “ordinary civilian” is already responding to an event? Then the boys in uniform are Second Responders (as they usually are). Are they fair game then?

  27. Uh, but fracking does cause earthquakes. Indisputably. And we don’t need to be burning more fossil fuels. Not to mention the morass of property rights concerns with the practice. But the this libertarianism you speak of has a first and foremost goal, and that is to make money for fossil fuel interests. (You call it individual liberty.)

    1. Walking causes earth quakes. Especially if the boots are heavy.

    2. Like usual, you couldn’t be any more dumb or wrong if you were trying.

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  29. Convict serving a life sentence: What’re ya in for?
    New Prisoner: Baking MJ into a bunny.

    1. The bunnys deserve to live.

  30. The Gummy Bear ban is not a bad law. It is meant to protect kids who ‘obviously’ may consider candy-like pot to be simply candy. (And yes! Adults should be more careful.. But, that doesn’t change the onbvious..). As an example.. You know those detergent packs that you throw in your dishwasher.. The ones with Red, blue, white and green colors in a little plastic like pack.. Kids eat those. naturally, they taste bad, so on the whole kids also spit them out..

    ‘Toy-like’ laundry detergent packets land hundreds of children in hospital with potentially fatal poisoning |


  31. And the cosmetology classes… Here in California, a person can become a cop with only 600 hours of training… But to cut hair? 1000 to 1200 hours of training. Go figure huh.

  32. Time for L. Neil Smith’s 100 year moratorium on new laws. We have too many already.

    1. Super disappointed in L, he’s now a “build the wall” Drumpfer.

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