Making cigarettes illegal? – Hasso Hering


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Making cigarettes illegal?

Written January 31st, 2013 by


Keeping watch on the Oregon legislature.

Keeping watch on the Oregon legislature.

Just what we need — another illegal drug. That’s what state Rep. Mitch Greenlick apparently wants. The Portland Democrat has introduced a bill, House Bill 2077, that would make possession of nicotine a crime. We are talking about cigarettes here, or really any kind of tobacco. The bill says it would create the crime of unlawful possession of nicotine, which would be punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of $6,250. It also would create the crime of unlawful distribution of nicotine, punishable in the same way. And it would direct the State Board of Pharmacy to adopt rules making nicotine a Schedule III controlled substance.

Now, this bill does not really stand a chance of passage in the legislature this year, or any year. So why does a legislator go to the trouble of having it written up and copies published online and in print? Maybe he just wants to get across a message — that nicotine is bad for you because it comes in the form of cigarettes, and maybe for other reasons too. But we already get that message, don’t we? The campaign against smoking has been going on since the 1960s.

Or maybe the Portland legislator just wants to be forthright. After all, we’ve had public condemnation of smoking for a long time, and increasingly smoking is against the law. It’s prohibited in workplaces, and now it’s banned on all state property — both indoors and out. Other legislation pending in the legislature would ban smoking in cars when children are present. So why not go all out and just ban cigarettes?

That’s what Greenlick may be thinking. Then we’d have yet another illegal drug that some people crave so much they would use it regardless of the law. More work for the police and the courts and eventually the jails — just what Oregon needs. (hh)

From Keith Underdahl: In my experience I have not found Representative Greenlick to be guided by reason or truth. Even before I read the article, when I saw the headline my first thought was, “This must be Greenlick’s idea.” Who are the fools who keep voting for him?
Keep up the good work on the blog,

From Steve A. Brown, via Facebook: Apparently, Greenlick doesn’t have enough to do to keep busy. Perhaps he should attend a remediation course on how to develop and write a realistic bill.
From Jill Morgan, via Facebook: Perhaps he should have to personally pay for all the costs involved with introducing such a bill….if that were the case perhaps people would be much less likely to waste time/money!
From ¬†Hazel Siebrecht: Maybe they can put this aside and work on another earth-shaking bill, banning plastic bags.¬† Isn’t that about as silly? Don’t tackle PERS or our desperate need of jobs, especially in the timber industry. Soon there will not be enough taxes to pay their wages.


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