California’s Tobacco Ban: The Double Standard of Legalizing Cannabis while Demonizing Tobacco

Californian assembly member Damon Connolly recently introduced Assembly Bill 935, which aims to forever ban the sale of all tobacco products in California, including handmade cigars, to people born after January 1, 2007. This phased ban means that eventually, nobody in the state of California would be legally allowed to purchase tobacco products. Under the proposed law, anyone presently 16 years old or younger, as well as future generations, would never legally be able to buy tobacco products in California. Repeat offenders could face penalties of up to $6,000 and could have their tobacco license revoked.

While the minimum age to purchase cigars and other tobacco products in California is presently 21, Connolly’s bill would eventually make it impossible for anyone to purchase such products in the state. The Premium Cigar Association (PCA) released a statement calling on all cigar retailers, consumers, and those who care about the future of the premium cigar sector in California to oppose the bill. The PCA is concerned about the potential for such legislation to restrict the rights of premium cigar smokers and views it as a political agenda that demonizes adult cigar smokers and seeks to limit their freedom to enjoy a legal product.

It’s worth noting that there is precedent for this type of legislation, but not in the United States. New Zealand implemented a similar law at the start of 2022, which banned tobacco sales to anyone born in or after 2009. However, some argue that while it’s commendable to ban tobacco products, it’s hypocritical not to extend the ban to cannabis.

Many people have pointed out the hypocrisy of banning tobacco while not doing the same for cannabis, which is legal in California for both medical and recreational use. Both products have been linked to health problems, and while tobacco use has declined in recent years, cannabis use has increased. This double standard raises concerns about how public policy is influenced by political agendas and economic interests.

In conclusion, the proposed ban on tobacco sales in California is controversial, and while it may have good intentions, it raises questions about the inconsistent treatment of harmful substances. While many may agree that tobacco use is harmful and should be discouraged, it’s worth considering whether the same standard should apply to other harmful substances as well.

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