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Pennsylvania High Court Overturns Philadelphia Ban On “Blunt” Cigars

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has struck down a Philadelphia law that banned the sale of small cigars known as “blunts.”

The state’s high court said Philadelphia City Council has no authority to pass such a ban.

In late 2006, City Council passed a bill that outlawed the sale of small quantities of blunt cigars by all retailers except tobacco shops and hotels.

The sponsor, Councilman Brian O’Neill, said drug users were dumping the tobacco out of the blunts and replacing it with marijuana, sometimes laced with hallucinogens.

But several cigar manufacturers sued, arguing that only the state — not the city — can ban blunts.

Now, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed with the cigar companies.

The justices ruled that blunts are covered by the state’s Controlled Substances Act, which pre-empts local legislation.

City councilman Darrell Clarke is not happy.

“I don’t understand why any branch of government — be it the legislative, administrative, or the judicial branch — that is supposed to be in the law enforcement business would allow people to enhance their ability to use illegal drugs.  It doesn’t make any sense to me,” he said.

Also not happy is Councilman O’Neill, the bill’s sponsor. But he says he is considering trying to rewrite the measure in a way that might meet the court’s muster despite the jurisdictional issues.

“The federal government pre-empts the state, the state pre-empts the city, but you have to find ways of dealing with it as much as you can, and that’s what I’m trying to do here: find a solution within the parameters and restrictions that are placed on us,” O’Neill told KYW Newsradio this afternoon.

The measure that was knocked down had also outlawed rolling papers and flavored cigars.

Reported by KYW City Hall Bureau chief Mike Dunn.

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  • rich

    You mean to tell me thats why we have idots like this making laws like this when we have all these criminals running free in Philadelphia the Councilmen should be impecached and thrown in jail for wasting tax payers money

  • bottomline

    This what you get for your taxes, more useless, constitutionally questionable, laws, like the invasive ban on fats. If the city has so much free time that they can get involved with this type of nonsense, then we should lay off some of the cities’ unneeded personnel. Use the saved tax money for more useful purposes, like helping homeowners facing foreclosures or better library hours.

  • Bret Walker

    Well let’s ban whipped cream, model glue and paper bags while we’re at it. Where does it end? Somebody’s going to find a way to get high off of something that has an otherwise legitimate use, so let’s just ban everything and live naked in the streets eating grass and drinking rainwater.

  • Anne Frankenstein

    Control the weed and nobody would want the blunts. Weed is the only thing keeping these cigar companies in business.

    • bottomline

      Anne, blunts aside, did you ever smoke a good cigar?
      Pure euphoria…..

  • George

    because you have no business telling people what they can or cannot do with a product that was purchased legally. You tried overstepping your authority and you got burnt!

  • HDDave

    Another case of Goverment Officials overstepping their boundries!

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