Cigar group wants Idaho to ban ‘blunt wraps’

MONDAY, JAN. 17, 2011, 2:08 P.M.

BOISE - The Cigar Association of America wants Idaho to outlaw “blunt wraps,” a type of roll-your-own cigar wrapper, as drug paraphernalia.

Russ Westerberg, lobbyist for the group, told the Idaho Senate Judiciary Committee today that “blunts” traditionally were cigars rolled in a single, continuous tobacco leaf, which had a blunt end as opposed to a tapered end. “In recent times, the term ‘blunt’ has become associated with marijuana or joints,” he told lawmakers.

The wrappers, which are made of tobacco, often flavored, and sold in cigar stores and convenience stores for little more than a dollar apiece, “are becoming popular with users of marijuana and other illegal substances,” Westerberg said. “If there is a legitimate use, at a minimum any legitimate use of a blunt wrap would pale in comparison with the illegal one,” he declared. “Near as we can tell, there is no legitimate use for a cigar wrap.”

Senators on the panel had some questions, but voted unanimously to introduce the bill. Said Sen. Denton Darrington, R-Declo, the committee chairman, “It is so typical of what we’ve faced within the whole drug culture - they’re always coming out with some new technology to be ahead of us.”

Westerberg told the senators that if there’s any legitimate use for the products, those who legitimately use them can make their case when the bill comes up for a hearing.

He said the tobacco in the wrapper, plus the flavoring, are popular with marijuana users because they can help disguise the marijuana aroma.

The bill, as introduced, would ban “blunt wraps, including individual tobacco wrappers, also known as wraps or roll your own cigar wraps, that are made wholly or in part from tobacco, including reconstituted tobacco, whether in the form of a leaf, sheet or tube, and that are used to hold any burning material or illegal substance.”

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