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The Prince George’s County Council adopted one of the nation’s most sweeping restrictions on the sale of cigars yesterday, an effort to curb a growing trend among urban youths of using hollowed-out cigars to smoke marijuana.
The council voted 8 to 1 to ban the sale of single cigars, requiring stores to sell them in packages of at least five. The new law will also make it easier to charge someone possessing a cigar with a drug paraphernalia offense.
The county measure’s passage was applauded by local anti-drug activists and the county police and health departments. The law is aimed primarily at small cigars sold individually at convenience stores and gas stations. Such cigars are often marketed in youth-friendly flavors such as cherry, apple and lime and are sold for as little as 80 cents to $1.
There’s nothing specifically “youth-friendly” about flavored wrappers—they taste good to everyone. And plenty of people buy cheap cigars with no intention of “hollowing them out” for weed; they simply like smoking cigars and can’t afford (or decide not) to drop $100 on a box of boutique stinkers. Preventing kids from getting hooked on cigarettes? Bullshit—if stores are selling single cigars to kids, then they’re probably selling them cigarettes as well. It’s more likely this is a shameless “meeting of the minds” between drug warriors and public health nuts, led by University of Maryland’s Mother in Chief, Kathleen Dachille.
But don’t worry, cigar aficionados! The ban spares people who can afford to drop a 10-spot on a tasty Macanudo Maduro, to smoke as they sip a finger or two of single malt scotch:
Tobacco stores that specialize in cigar sales, and often sell high-end cigars for as much as $5 apiece or more, are excluded from the legislation’s restrictions, as are other locations that are sometimes age-restricted, including golf courses, fraternal lodges, bars and restaurants.
There you have it, folks: Rich, white suburbanites are responsible enough to be left alone, yet poor blacks and Hispanics need to be socially engineered towards better behavior. Your tax dollars at work.
[H/t Katherine Mangu-Ward]
UPDATE: Pop Cesspool posted in the comments a link to an awesome video. Let’s see PG County ban earthbongs: