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Kentucky Company Sues D.C. over Cigar Wrapper Ban

Kentucky-based National Tobacco has sued Washington, D.C. in response to a 2010 law banning the sale of cigar wrappers, according to an AP news brief from yesterday. The city’s lawyers are arguing that officials have the right to ban the wrappers, claiming that they have “no legitimate purpose but for illegal drug use.” National Tobacco claims that the law is “vague and unconstitutional,” and I couldn’t agree more.

Sure, you can use a cigar wrapper to roll a blunt, but come on, am I alone in thinking that the reason tobacco products exist in the first place is for the enjoyment of…tobacco? Doesn’t this law just sound ridiculous from that kind of perspective? National Tobacco, according to the article, is the fourth-largest manufacturer of roll-your-own tobacco products in the nation. Do you think this company would risk their reputation as a reputable supplier of tobacco products by intentionally promoting something that is illegal?

In the same vein, several states and municipalities have banned rolling papers. In my not-so-humble opinion, the logic behind this is beyond flawed. The drugs are already illegal—what legislators are doing is banning ways to use those drugs, whether that was their original intended purpose or not.

Here’s one—if you’re going to make cigar wrappers and rolling papers illegal because you can use them to smoke pot, why not make corncob pipes illegal? How about making spoons and rubber hoses illegal because junkies use them to shoot up? Or how about making straws and paper money illegal to curb drug snorting?

But I’m getting off track. Regardless of how you spin it, tobacco is an agricultural product that is grown expressly for the use of tobacco, which is, for now, 100 percent legal in this country. What some people smoke instead is their business, not National Tobacco’s. I hope National Tobacco gets this ridiculous law overturned, because as we’ve learned from tax hikes and smoking bans, tobacco legislation tends to tread down the slipperiest of slopes.