Tag Archives: Prohibition

Hawaii Governor Signs Bill Banning Adults Under 21 from Using, Buying Tobacco Products

On Friday, Hawaii Democratic Governor David Ige signed a bill into law which prohibits businesses from selling tobacco products to adults under the age of 21. Also, under the law, individuals below 21 years of age who are caught using or possessing tobacco products will face first offence fines of $10 and penalties of $50 or community service for additional offences.

Raising the minimum age as part of our comprehensive tobacco control efforts will help reduce tobacco use among our youth and increase the likelihood that our [children] will grow up tobacco-free,” read a statement by Governor Ige, according to US News & World Report. “This allows us to put one more impediment to people smoking too much,” said Ige.

The new law takes effect on January 1 of 2016 and applies to e-cigarettes in addition to traditional tobacco products.

Democratic State Representative Angus McKelvey, an opponent of the bill, told The Associated Press, “I can’t stand cigarette smoking. It’s disgusting. But to tell somebody you can go and fight for your country and get killed but you can’t have a cigarette, that’s the thing. You can enter a contract. You’re an emancipated adult in the eyes of the Constitution but you can’t have a cigarette anymore.

Truth in Media reported earlier this month that a similar proposal is under consideration by the California General Assembly. Most US states aside from Alaska maintain a minimum smoking age of 18, except for Utah, Alabama, and New Jersey, where it is 19. Reuters notes that cities and counties including New York City and Hawaii County have previously raised the minimum legal smoking age to 21.

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids claims that, on average, 1,400 people die of tobacco-related causes of death each year in Hawaii. A 2014 US Surgeon General report cited the fact that adult smoking rates in the United States have plunged from 42% in 1965 to 18% in 2012.

California State Senate Approves Ban on Tobacco Products for Adults Under 21

On Tuesday, the California Senate voted 26-8 to prohibit the sale of tobacco products to individuals under the age of 21. The bill, SB 151, amends the Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement Act such that it applies to adults under the newly-proposed minimum age. According to The Los Angeles Times, the proposal will now proceed to the California State Assembly for consideration.

A similar measure cleared the Hawaii State Legislature earlier this year, but, as Fox News notes, the bill currently sits unsigned on Hawaii Democratic Governor David Ige’s desk. He has not yet signaled whether he will sign or veto the bill and has until June 29 to decide.

Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), the sponsor of the California bill, cited a study claiming that 90% of those who use tobacco start before age 21 as his rationale behind the ban. He also pointed to another study, produced by the Institute of Medicine and funded by the Food and Drug Administration, that claimed that such a ban would reduce cigarette smoking by 12%.

We will not sit on the sidelines while big tobacco markets to our kids and gets another generation of young people hooked on a product that will ultimately kill them. That is why I believe we need legislation like SB 151,” read a statement by Senator Ed Hernandez. However, the sale of tobacco products to children is already illegal in California, and SB 151 would only apply to adults age 18, 19, and 20.

The Cigar Association of America said, according to Breitbart, “An individual can be eligible to vote, serve in the military, and enter into contracts at the age of 18 and therefore should be able to make decisions about purchasing tobacco products.

Meanwhile, a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that youth cigarette smoking has dropped to historic lows, though e-cigarette use is on the rise. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids president Matthew Myers said of the CDC study data in comments to USA Today, “It represents a historic drop in cigarette use — the first time in history that we’ve seen cigarette use in high school youth below 10%. At the same time, the explosive rise in e-cigarette use is a wake-up call.” According to a 2013 CDC study cited by LiveScience, cigarette smoking among adults has recently plunged to all-time lows as well.

New York City banned the sale of tobacco products to individuals under 21 back in 2013. No US state has yet raised its smoking age to 21, but in Alaska, Utah, Alabama, and New Jersey, the minimum age is currently 19.

TN Legislators Introduce Bills to Decriminalize Cannabis Oil, Legalize Marijuana

Following news that TN NORML has launched a petition drive to place a referendum on Nashville’s upcoming August mayoral ballot that would allow voters to decide whether to defund enforcement of low-level marijuana arrests for possession of less than two ounces, state-level lawmakers have also introduced two new bills that, if they were to become law, would weaken Tennessee’s ban on pot. According to WATE-TV, State Representative Harold Love (D-Nashville) introduced HB0873, which would legalize possession and the casual exchange of a half ounce of marijuana or less. The bill would also modify Tennessee criminal code by adjusting the penalty for the possession, distribution, or casual exchange of over an ounce of pot to a misdemeanor punished by a $100 fine. A companion version of the bill, SB 1211, has been introduced in the Tennessee Senate by Senator Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville). If it were to pass, the bill would go into effect on July 1 of this year.

From the other side of the aisle, Republican State Representative Jeremy Faison from Cosby, TN introduced a bill last month that would decriminalize the possession and use of cannabis oil for medical purposes. BenSwann.com previously reported on two Tennessee parents who were forced to move to Colorado to obtain cannabis oil treatment for their two-year-old daughter Piper who suffers from Aicardi Syndrome, a seizure disorder. According to WBIR-TV, Faison’s bill would allow individuals suffering from intense seizures to use cannabis oil. State Senator Becky Duncan-Massey (R-Knoxville) has introduced a companion bill in the Tennessee Senate.

Said Faison of the bill, “Cannabis oil has shown evidence to help children who suffer with seizures, and I strongly believe that if the legislature joins me in passing this bill, it will be one of those times that government does get it right.” Faison pointed out the fact that his bill would stop short of legalizing medical marijuana, as it would only allow oils with less than .9% THC content.

Back in September of 2014, Ben Swann released an expose on the federal government’s mixed messages on medical marijuana and cannabis oil. Despite the fact that the federal government claims that marijuana is one of the most dangerous drugs with no medical use, it also holds a patent on medical marijuana. Watch Ben Swann’s Truth in Media episode on medical marijuana in the player below.

From Marijuana to GMOs to Fracking – Results of the Midterm Elections

The 2014 Midterm Elections led to the approval of measures such as marijuana legalization in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C., a ban on hydraulic fracturing in Denton, Texas, and a shift in the way California defines offenses, such as drug possession.

Oregon became the third state to legalize the “possession, use and sale of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over,” according to the Huffington Post.

The Alaska Dispatch reported that voters in Alaska approved legalizing recreational use of marijuana “by about 52 percent in favor to 48 percent opposed, with 100 percent of the state’s precincts reporting.”

According to USA Today, the measure to legalize marijuana in Washington D.C. was “overwhelmingly approved” by voters, and will apply to sections of the district that are not considered “federal land.”

Although the measure to legalize medical marijuana in Florida received 57% approval, it did not receive the necessary 60%, in order to pass.

Florida Today reported that voters “narrowly rejected” the legalization of medical marijuana, “after a surge of ads saying the ballot initiative was riddled with holes,” which cost $6.2 million, and had the backing of a Las Vegas casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson.

Following the elections, Denton became the first city in the state of Texas to ban hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” The Fort Worth Star Telegram reported that 58.6 percent of voters approved an ordinance that “will drastically restrict drillers’ attempts to tap the rich natural gas reserves within the city limits.”

A measure to label foods containing genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), appeared on the ballots in Colorado and Oregon. It was rejected in Colorado, and is still “too close to call” in Oregon. The Oregonian reported that the measure to label GMOs  “trailed 49 percent to 51 percent,” with nearly 80 percent of votes counted.

According to Reuters, this outcome came after corporate food and agriculture interests, such as Monsanto and DuPont, “poured more than $36 million into anti-labeling campaigns in the two states.

Voters in California approved a measure that redefines certain offenses that were considered felonies, such as shoplifting, fraud, and possession of small amounts of drugs, including heroin and cocaine, as misdemeanor.

The Huffington Post reported that as a result of the measure, as many as 10,000 people “could be eligible for early release from state prisons,” and the expectation is that courts “will annually dispense around 40,000 fewer felony convictions.”

Ben Swann joins correspondents Erin Ade, Edward Harrison, Abby Martin, and Tyrel Ventura, from RT News, to discuss the ballot measures: