Friday, May 13, 2011

Close but No Cigar

A semi-airtight cigar storage tube and a doubl...Image via WikipediaI used to enjoy the occasional fine cigar, but it has been a while since I had a good stogie.  When I was partaking of fine cigars, I could only enjoy them outside of the house, usually if I was golfing or doing yard work.  Mrs. Dickster would not let me have them in the house.  One cold winter day she let me fire up a log in the basement but she quickly came down to tell me she could smell them up on the top floor of our townhouse.

For a variety of reasons, I gave up my vice of smoking fine cigars.  I still have some of my cigar paraphernalia around the house.  I still have a couple of humidors lying around the house along with some cigar cutters and a few of the cigar torches that I used to fire up my logs.  I am reminiscing about my former love affair with cigars because of an email that I received from one of the companies that I used to order cigars from.

I have long known that my home state of Maryland is a bastion of liberalism.  One of my blogging buddies, Harrison Price of Capitol Commentary has frequently called his home state of California the Peoples Republik of Kalifornia.  I think the same could be said of Maryland.  While the local news was flooded with potential laws like gay marriage, increasing the gasoline tax, increasing the alcohol sales tax, and Maryland's passage of their version of the Dream Act (the last two passed) they also managed to sneak in a new cigar law.

Even though I no longer smoke cigars, I still get emails from some of the companies that I used to buy cigars from.  Below is the text of an email that I recently received from one of them.  Apparently, it is now illegal to receive orders of cigars through the mail in the state of Maryland, which is how I used to get the bulk of my cigars back in the day.
ATTN: all cigar customers residing in Maryland

Effective May 1st, 2011, a new law ( has declared it illegal to ship cigars into the state of Maryland.

You heard that right. Unbelievable as it may seem, Maryland legislators took away your right to choose where you buy your cigars. We at Cigars International, like many others in the cigar industry, believe this to be an un-American affront to freedom – and will increase the cost of a cigar to you.

Here is the question for you as a resident of Maryland: is it the responsibility of the state to dictate from whom you can and cannot purchase? Bear in mind, handmade cigars are a legal product. Cigars are no different than sneakers, pencils, or books in terms of interstate commerce. A state cannot arbitrarily choose to close its borders to a legal product, for any reason.

We need you to help overturn this ill-conceived piece of legislation.

Sadly, Maryland legislators think they are protecting a small handful of retail cigar stores in Maryland who, rather than compete in the marketplace on service, selection and pricing, chose to persuade state legislators to approve an anti-choice, anti-freedom, and anti-American law at the 11th hour. Competition is good. Competition is American.

As a Maryland resident, you should be outraged. Today it's cigars. Tomorrow it will be something else. Enough is enough. It is time to fight back.

HERE IS WHAT I AM ASKING YOU TO DO TODAY: The Maryland state Comptroller is Peter Franchot. I urge you to contact him today. Tell him you're a voter, you enjoy cigars, and this law limits your choices and freedom. We must make our voices heard or who knows what will be illegal tomorrow.

You can reach Mr. Franchot by calling him at 1-800-552-3941 or emailing him at

Or you can mail him at
Comptroller of Maryland
80 Calvert Street
P.O. Box 466
Annapolis, MD 21404-0466
It is definitely troublesome to have the government ban a legal substance.  While it is disturbing, I am more concerned about the state passing a law to give in state tuition breaks to illegal immigrants when the state budget is operating at a deficit.  I will be signing a petition to try to get an initiative on the ballot to repeal that particularly loathsome bit of legislation.

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  1. Did you pay a state tax on the cigars you used to order? If you didn't, that sounds like a better reason to ban such purchases.

    By the way, have you ever had a Cuban? I wonder if they really are as good as I have heard. Since, I have never really smoked anything, it might not make a difference, but I do love the smell of a good cigar and pipe tobacco.

  2. Dickster-
    It's just a power grab! Let's light em up and blow smoke in their faces!

    Happy Trails...



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