Government Regulations Likely to Backfire Again

By: the Common Constitutionalist

What is the easiest way to kill an industry – any industry? The answer is to inject government into the equation. Government has long been a thorn in the side of American business. And it is also the answer to lessening competition for those crony corporations who, through donations and graft to politicians, are able to virtually lock out up-and-comers with a better mousetrap. As I’ve stated many times – the government takes it upon itself to pick winners and losers, as it has done for decades.

So how does government ruin companies and entire industries? Well, they can punitively tax them, but this has to be done legislatively and must be at least loosely based on the Constitution. That’s far too much of a hassle and also must effect all people or businesses. Oh, and it’s also far too public.

No, this the answer is and has been the Administrative State – bureaucratic regulatory bodies within the government whose dictates often go unheard and unseen to the general public, but whose rules and regulations carry the full weight of law – without the legislative entanglements and fanfare.

Save for the relatively informed few like us, most Americans are still virtually unaware of the havoc the EPA has wrought on the coal industry, or their stated goal to kill it off completely. The general public may only notice an increase in their power bill for which many will simply chock up to corporate greed. read more

Cigarettes, Marijuana and Muslims

by: the Common Constitutionalist

I wonder who in modern American society is the most vilified. Which segment of the population is most demonized? Is it conservatives, maybe Christians, or could it be smokers. The joke is that these days, if you want to get ahead, you need to be a crippled, black female abortion activist. Put that on an application for anything remotely aligned with the government and watch the cash start rolling in.

On the flip side, try being a middle-aged conservative white smoker. Just imagine the discrimination. One could take away the middle-aged, the conservative and the white and still have the single most discriminated segment of society – the smoker.

Now due to education, public pressure and massive tax increases, cigarette smoking has been dropping steadily in the United States for decades. According to Real Science , “In 1997, 36.4% of Americans smoked. By 2013 the rate fell to 17.8%,” no doubt some do to ridiculously high sin taxes the states and feds impose.

In 2009 the federal tax on a pack of cigarettes was raised from $.62 to $1.01. The New York State tax is $4.35 and Illinois the taxes well above $7.00 a pack. With a tax that high it must cause many to stop purchasing. This demonstrates what we conservatives have said forever. If you want less of something – tax it. That doesn’t just apply to cigarettes, but everything – yet liberals can’t seem, or refuse to make that connection with anything else in the marketplace.

It’s also interesting that the same liberals can’t seem to connect the success of their non-smoking campaigns with a loss of revenue to the state coffers for things like health programs for kids.

So states are flipping reason on it’s head by taxing a legal product, cigarettes, out of existence and replacing it with newly legalized marijuana. Now that makes sense. read more

Fascist City Council

Minnesota Store Cited For Selling Candy “Cigarettes”

The St. Paul, Minnesota city council unanimously voted in 2009 to outlaw cartoon character lighters and candy that resembled cigarettes. Unfortunately, a small shop in St. Paul didn’t get the memo and had candy “cigarettes” in stock as well as gum shaped like cigars and chewing tobacco. The candy cigarettes were their biggest sellers. The Star Tribune reported that a city official visited the store a little over a week ago and instructed them to get rid of all the candy that looked like tobacco products:

“Lynden’s, on Hamline Avenue near Cretin-Derham Hall High School, said a city inspections official came in last week and gave the shop a warning and added that a misdemeanor citation — with a $500 fine — would be next if the non carcinogenic confections continue to be sold.”

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Smoke vs. Toke

by: the Common Constitutionalist

It seems, in so many ways, America is being turned upside down. What seems logical is illogical and vice versa. I can think of no better example than that of cigarettes and marijuana.

Cigarettes are legal substance. They can be purchased at any minimart, megamart and everywhere in between.No Smoking

One may purchase cigarettes in New York City for between $11 and $14.50 per pack, but there is practically nowhere in the city to smoke them. Makes perfect sense.

There is an interesting phenomenon happening in this country. It seems the legal substance cigarettes, is being regulated into illegality, while the illegal substance marijuana, is gaining legality.

At the same time more states and municipalities are outlawing the use of cigarettes, they are enacting legislation to legalize marijuana. I say outlawing the use of cigarettes, not the sale, for governments could never go without the tax revenue.

Could this be the driving force for legalization of pot? Rhode Island, on the heels of the Colorado and Washington state legalization success, has vowed to bring marijuana legalization to vote. They have already estimated a $30 million tax windfall from the sale of a newly legalized substance.

Legalize pot But that could never be. No politician would put tax revenue head of the health of his or her constituents. (I almost fell out of my chair laughing at that one).

I’ve been saying for years; if cigarettes are so harmful, ban them. Ban the sale, not just the use. The whole concept is just absurd.

It would be like being able to purchase a car, but the state telling you, you may not drive it for you may get into an accident and kill someone.

There is no doubt that cigarettes are bad for you and are the source of suffering and death for many. Most in government, as do many ill-informed Americans, claim that smoking puts a strain on the health care system.

From a purely practical and economic standpoint, I contend cigarettes, in the long run, actually save the health care system money and thus the taxpayer. Most chronic smokers develop health problems earlier and thus die earlier than non-smokers, thereby saving money that the taxpayer would otherwise have to pay later in the non-smokers life. I know that sounds heartless but it is logical from a purely economic view.

I would find it impossible to believe that chronic marijuana smokers wouldn’t have similar health problems later in life. So what is the driving force toward legalization of pot?

Could it be that marijuana advocates have become so numerous in these states, as to force legislation or a ballot referendum? Are there that many pot smokers in this country? I sincerely doubt it.

If that isn’t it, what is behind this push for legalization? Also, when marijuana is legalized, where might potheads be able to light up? I ask, due to the dearth of cigarette friendly areas in most states these days.Pot-Head Lobby

For example, in liberal Boulder Colorado, most likely pothead central, cigarette smoking has been banned practically everywhere, even on porches, patios and balconies.

In Oregon there is a statewide ban and a rider within the state law allowing for municipalities to further restrict the use of cigarettes.

California also has a statewide ban on the use of cigarettes and plenty of cities and towns have further restrictions, such as bans on smoking outdoors, at bus stops, parks, and beaches, as well as in apartments and condominiums.

With all the restrictions on cigarettes, a supposed legal substance, will these restrictive municipalities allow pot smokers to light up in Park or their apartment? Might there be a special pothead waiver?

Knowing liberals as I do, I would likely say yes. Marijuana will be allowed were cigarettes aren’t. Yes, we are in bizarro world.

As for why the push to legalize marijuana, I believe there is only one reason and it is not the powerful pothead lobby.california-cannabis Say it with me…Taxes!

States, like the feds, spend money like drunken sailors. My apologies to drunken sailors. They don’t have the spines to cut spending nor do they have the slightest desire to do so. So they must find new streams of revenue. Legalizing and taxing marijuana is the new stream they have discovered. Like the Lewis and Clark of taxes.

It will be interesting to see just how far the spineless political class will go with the neRasta Monw drug legalization thing. The radicals on the left, of course, will never stop at just marijuana. This is simply the jump off point for them. After they’ve tasted success in several more states, they will move on to some other drug. Mark my words!

I have an idea for the most hated industry this side of Big Oil. Phillip Morris could become the most beloved company of the left. They just have to introduce “Marlboro Joints”. Instead of the Marlboro man, the macho cowboy smoking a cigarette, they could introduce the Marlboro Rasta-Mon, standing at the checkout of a 7-11 with the joint in one hand and a microwave burrito in the other.

Don’t Smoke & Drive

In yet another example of passing a bill without reading it, a tiny amendment buried in the federal transportation bill signed last Friday by President Obama will put operators of RYO (roll-your-own) cigarette operations in Las Vegas and nationwide out of business at midnight.

Can someone, anyone, tell me what the hell cigarettes have to do with transportation?

Robert Weissen, with his brothers and other partners, own nine Sin City Cigarette Factory locations in Southern Nevada, including six in Las Vegas, and one in Hawaii. He said when the bill is signed their only choice is to turn off their 20 RYO Filling Station machines and lay off more than 40 employees.

“We’ll stay open for about another week to sell tubes and tobacco just to get through our inventory, but without the use of the RYO machines, we won’t be staying open,” he said.

The machines are used by customers who buy loose tobacco and paper tubes from the shop and then turn out a carton of finished cigarettes in as little as 10 minutes, often varying the blend to suit their taste. Savings are substantial – at $23 per carton, half the cost of a name-brand smoke – in part because loose tobacco is taxed at a lower rate.

“These cigarettes are different because there are benefits in saving money,” said Amy Hinds, a partner who operates the Sin City Cigarette Factory at Craig and Decatur.

“These cigarettes don’t have any of the chemicals in them, and the papers are chemical-free, unlike the cartons people buy from Philip Morris.”

But a few paragraphs added to the transportation bill changed the definition of a cigarette manufacturer to cover thousands of roll-your-own operations nationwide. The move, backed by major tobacco companies, is aimed at boosting tax revenues.

Faced with regulation costs that could run to hundreds of thousands of dollars, RYO machine owners nationwide are shutting down more than 1,000 of the $36,000 machines.

“I feel it’s kind of shady,” Wiessen said. “The man who pushed for this bill is Sen. Max Baucus (D) from Montana, and he received donations from Altria, a parent company of Philip Morris. Interestingly enough, there are also no RYO machines in the state of Montana. It really makes me question the morals and values of our elected speakers.”

Sierra Bawden, a single mom with two kids who started rolling her own smokes at Hind’s shop three months ago, said cost is only one factor.

“It saves me time and money, and in the end I feel better because I don’t get all of the chemicals that the other cigarettes have,” Bawden said. “With the brand-name cigarettes, we pay for the chemicals and the name, and I don’t want any of that, so I don’t even know what I’ll do when the shop closes down.”

In Southern Nevada, there are two basic RYO business models: traditional smoke shops that also sell brand-name cigarettes, hookah and smoking paraphernalia, and RYO lounges that sell only loose tobacco and materials.

“Our stores are like lounges where our customers can buy the pieces for the product then roll them by hand or use the machine to make their cigarettes,” Wiessen said. “It’s a relaxed environment. Rolling a carton of cigarettes by hand can take one person up to three hours.”

Even before the bill was signed, Hinds’ location on Craig Road was already feeling the pinch. They were to close Thursday because suppliers stopped delivering needed materials last week.

Wiessen and others are attempting to mount a petition drive asking for relief from the new regulations and are talking to lawyers now to explore their options.

“As it stands right now, we’ll have no choice but to shut down at midnight on Friday, but we’re not giving up,” Wiessen said. “We have to see what our lawyers tell us and go from there.”

Regardless of how you feel about smoking, you should be outraged. For the government to, by the sweep of a magic pen, put an industry out of business is simply immoral.

Every small business person in America should be very worried. They may come for you next, particularly if you happen to compete with a large corporation, that just happens to have an elected official in their back pocket. 

Attribution: Beth Karuschak, Las Vegas Review-Journal