The Washington D. C. Council has scheduled a public hearing on Bill 18-124, called the “Single Sale of Cigar Products Prohibition Amendment Act of 2009.” The open ended Bill would ban the sale of individual cigars or cigar products that might be used to introduce marijuana into the human body. The hearing is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on September 29 in the John A. Wilson building at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington DC 20004.
“There are cigars, and then there are premium cigars. There is a huge difference between them and we need to educate the Council as to what that difference is because this bill, if enacted, would be devastating to all legitimate cigar stores in the area,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR.
“The bottom line is that this is bad legislation that won’t do what it is intended to do – stop the use of marijuana. The only thing it will do is irreparable harm to owners of cigar stores, their employees and loyal customers who enjoy premium cigars.”
The more than 2,000 members of IPCPR sell or manufacture premium cigars and tobacco, pipes and related accoutrements. McCalla says they are, for the most part, owner-operators of small, family-owned businesses who have employees and pay local, state and federal taxes.
“The premium cigars we offer are all hand-made from natural tobaccos. Our customers smoke premium cigars like most people enjoy fine wines. A premium cigar makes ordinary moments special and special moments extraordinary. To deny anyone that pleasure would be like banning beer because someone uses it as a chaser for, say, a shot of bourbon,” said McCalla
“Legislators keep raising the taxes on premium cigars until they are so expensive people can only buy one or two at a time and now they want to ban the single sale of cigars. Ridiculous!”
McCalla urged all D.C. citizens – smokers and non-smokers – to speak against the bill at the hearing on September 29 or call 202/724-8000 in advance to talk to the Council of the District of Columbia . More information about the Council may be found online at www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us/.
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For more information on tobacco legislation in your state, pleasse visit their website at IPCPR.org.