Cigar makers want to outlaw blunts that could be used for illegal drugs
An Idaho Senate panel will consider banning blunt wraps, products that the backer of the ban said can be used to mask the use of marijuana and other illegal drugs.
Blunt wraps, which can also be called tobacco wrappers and roll your own cigar wraps, are hollow wrappers made of reconstituted tobacco that can be flavored and filled with a smokeable product. The flavors, which include tobacco, apple, and mango, and the shape of the wraps could hide the look and smell of marijuana, according to ban supporters. They are already banned in Canada, Boston, and New York City, but Illinois lawmakers rejected a ban last week.
The Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee agreed to hold a hearing on the legislation that’s backed by committee chair Sen. Denton Darrington, R-Declo, and Russell Westerberg, a lobbyist for the Cigar Association of America.
“They always come out with kind of technology to be a step ahead of us, and we are always playing catch up,” said Darrington.
The law would label blunt wraps as drug paraphernalia and make it illegal to have or use them. Westerberg said he’s unaware of any cigar or tobacco users who use blunt wraps, but that such people could come forward during the panel’s hearing on the legislation.
“The term ‘blunt’ has become associated and synonymous with marijuana and joints,” Westerberg said. “If Paris Hilton had been using a blunt (wrap), … she probably wouldn’t have been arrested.”
Westerberg said the ban wouldn’t apply to rolling paper used for loose tobacco to make cigarettes. His legislation said the ban would cost $1,850, which he said is a far cry from the $22 million it costs to treat addiction to illegal drugs including marijuana and Spice in Idaho.
The Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee also agreed to hold hearings on legislation amending the state rape-by-fraud law to protect unmarried women. The law change, also backed by Darrington, follows a well-publicized case of a woman whose boyfriend allegedly tricked her into having sex with another man. Current state law only protects married women in that situation.
Darrington said he’d heard from several lawmakers asking him if the rape law would be changed.