Smoking Laws Gone Wild, Part 2
A long, long time ago when smoking was accepted in our great land and my dad was able to buy all of his power tools in the Montgomery Ward department store without having to extinguish his green dog-rocket, there were some crazy tobacco laws on the books (albeit not as dangerous as those being enforced now). These odd mandates thrived throughout the decades unchallenged, hardly known by the general public. Being the hard-working investigative blogger that I am, I took a 20-minute break from the Dog The Bounty Hunter marathon to astonish and amuse you with some of these amazing tobacco laws. I’m sure there are many more than I came across, but I’m not writing a novel! Instead, I have decided to amuse you with my favorites. And, yes, they are all factual. I swear! (fingers crossed).
New Jersey: While signs reading “Do Not Feed the Animals” are common in many zoos, New Jersey took this notion one-step further by passing a law that forbids people from giving local zoo animals cigars or whiskey. Feeling sorry that these poor deprived caged beasts cannot enjoy the simple pleasures of life, I took a trip to the Turtleback Zoo in West Orange and threw a carton of Virginia Slims and a six-pack of Coors into every cage. They all seemed happy,( except for a certain lemur that preferred menthol), and I wasn’t even breaking any laws… although I don’t encourage any of you to do this! It just so happens that I simply got lucky on that particular day because all of the caretakers were busy trying to dislodge a rhinoceros who got his horn stuck in a fence.
Newport, Rhode Island: Resting on the East Coast, Newport has a law that prohibits people from smoking a pipe after sunset. It seems that any other time is fine but, once the sun goes down, you and your beloved briar are done. Fortunately, many of the city’s pipe smokers have found that snorting Vicodin and washing it down with a bottle of Thunderbird is just as relaxing.
South Bend, Indiana: In this town, a law dating back to 1924 declares that it is officially illegal to make a monkey smoke a cigarette. Many years ago, while living in South Bend, I owned a monkey named Larry—and I totally agree with this law. I never would have forced Larry to smoke a cigarette. That, in my book is considered animal cruelty.
Being a responsible pet owner though, I attempted to take Larry to a local cigar bar. The friendly owner said, “We don’t get many monkeys in here.” Boy, was I embarrassed when Larry said, “With these prices, you won’t be getting many more either!” Larry orders his cigars online now.
Michigan: Here, smoking in bed is not only ill-advised, it is downright illegal. Somebody should have told that to Murray Kaplan from Flint, who fell asleep with a Gurkha Robusto in his mouth while watching the Discovery Channel. Not only did he lose his eyebrows and chest hair, he was promptly arrested after his landlord smelled smoke and called the police. Unfortunately, his neighbors on Cellblock B love a guy with neither eyebrows nor chest hair. Poor Murray spent the next three years wearing a strapless lemon chiffon evening gown while spending romantic evenings with the Aryan Brotherhood.
Oklahoma: While the smoking laws here seem fairly standard, I did learn that dogs congregating in groups of three or more on private property must have a permit signed by the mayor. I am not 100 percent certain but I do believe that, once they have this paperwork in order, they are then allowed to smoke cigars. Those of you in Oklahoma, please tell your dogs not to get too excited and head to the nearest cigar store just yet; I’ll have to research this a little further.
Well, as my Rabbi would frequently say while reciting the Talmud, that was some crazy shit. However, these dumb tobacco laws do not only apply to the good old US of A. Let’s take a look at a crazy law that still exists in Australia.
Australia has a law that bans children from purchasing cigars or cigarettes. Obviously this isn’t the strange part, as many countries rightfully have similar regulations. However, Australia stands out because minors are legally allowed to consume tobacco as long as an adult makes the purchase. (Perhaps needless to say, there is no father of the year award in this country.)
Australian children are freely allowed to smoke a cigar in front of a police officer, a parent, a teacher, or even a kangaroo, and, believe me, not all kangaroos are cigar-friendly! Several years ago while I was visiting my grandmother in the Outback, a kangaroo approached me and said, “Sir, please put that stinking cigar out. My kids can’t stand the smell!” Indignantly, I replied, “Ma’am, if you don’t like the smell, go hop somewhere else!” That bitch kicked me so hard in the nuts that I couldn’t breathe!
I am truly sorry that I wasted your time with this awful story. I just have one more request—close your eyes and picture this dreadful scenario:
It is sometime in the future and you’re driving home from a hard day’s work, unwinding with a big fat joint, which is, of course, now legal in all 50 states. Suddenly you see the flashing lights of a police car in your rearview mirror. Your heart is pounding as you sit on the curb while the cop begins searching your car to see if you are carrying any concealed or unlicensed… cigars.