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Prohibition: Illinois Bill to Ban Marijuana Blunt Wraps Passes State Senate

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #624)

A bill that would define blunt wraps -- tobacco leaves or processed tobacco designed to be wrapped around marijuana and smoked -- as drug paraphernalia was approved by the Illinois Senate Monday. A companion measure, HB 6234, has already passed the House Judiciary II Committee and awaits a floor vote. In a sign of momentum for the bills, the House bill picked up five more cosponsors Tuesday.

Under the measure passed by the Senate, SB 3734, the following language is added to the state's statute defining drug paraphernalia: "Individual tobacco wrappers, known as wraps, blunt wraps, or roll your own cigar wraps, whether in the form of a tobacco leaf, sheet, or tube, that consists in whole or in part of reconstituted leaf or flavored tobacco leaf; however, the term 'wrap,' 'blunt wrap,' or 'roll your own cigar wrap,' as used in this Section, does not include a tobacco leaf wrap that is used in the manufacturing of a cigar intended for retail sale."

Blunt wraps come plain or in flavors, such as cherry or peach, and are widely sold in gas stations, liquor stores, and convenience stores. Because of their low cost, easy availability to urban youth, and "lack of legitimate uses," they have been targeted by lawmakers. The push against blunt wraps is being led by cops and clergy.

"Having this product in mainstream stores is like having drug pushers in our neighborhoods," Bishop Larry Trotter, the pastor at Sweet Holy Spirit Church, said Sunday. "Blunt wraps are an indefensible product marketed to children and entirely identified with illegal drug use."

Trotter is vowing to circulate petitions in 50 Cook County churches to gin up support for the legislation. He also said he plans to lead a group of ministers and community activists to Springfield to urge passage of the bills.

Trotter is also aiming at local merchants, including the liquor store across the street from his church. "If it is not removed from the store, then we will shut it down," he threatened during the Sunday church service.

Mike Mohad, the manager of the liquor store, said he would quit selling blunt wraps if asked by the church, but that it wouldn't make much difference. "We don't have (any) problems getting along with the community," Mohad said. "If I can't sell it, people will go down the street to a different store. It's popular in Chicago."

Another local businessman, Joe Patel, manager of a gas station said he had no issues with selling blunt wraps. "It's a profitable item and in this economy every penny counts," said Joe Patel, who manages a Mobil gas station on Garfield Blvd. "We sell cigars to be smoked as sold. How people use it when they get home I have no control over."

But if the bishop, the cops, and the lawmakers have their way, blunt wraps will become one item Patel will no longer be able to sell.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Jean Boyd (not verified)

Well maybe Bishop Larry Trotter from Sweet Holy Spirit Church is barking up the wrong tree. Maybe he should start distributing leaflets about the poverty in the community, the lack of medical insurance, lack of food and lack of good leaders that recognize what is really causing the problems. Is Illinois not aware that the "times they are a changing".

Fri, 03/19/2010 - 4:57pm Permalink
Gabriel (not verified)

ya know, when i sit here and think about this guy and his and his twisted, ridiculous, right wing extremist, delusional religious ideology. i cant help but think that his logic is sooo in the dumps that no one will pay any attention to him, and that he's actually kinda cute. then i remember who our last president was and that he was put in power by Americans. not by me, but by hundreds of thousands of other Americans just as delusional and crazy as this guy. they should really study the very basic laws of SUPPLY and DEMAND. paying more attention to the demand aspect of the definition, and to the long uninterrupted history of that demand. the End to the Drug War is INEVITABLE.

Mon, 03/22/2010 - 9:14am Permalink
Anonymous45 (not verified)

In reply to by Gabriel (not verified)

Right Wing Extremest? Not quite. This is left wing Chicago Politics, just like the White House. Liberty means nothing to these people. You don't like it and we will shut you down!

Thu, 03/25/2010 - 6:12pm Permalink
maxwood (not verified)

These "drug" experts still don't get it. Not one mention that youth buying cigar "wrappers" to roll marijuana in ("dangerous!" "illegal!" etc.) may be exposed to addictive nicotine, get addicted to tobackgo, wind up spending over $2000 a year on a "pack-a-day" habit and costing $100,000 or more for medical treatment, blood pressure drugs etc. toward the end of a shortened life. Get this:

"...however, the term 'wrap,' 'blunt wrap,' or 'roll your own cigar wrap,' as used in this Section, does not include a tobacco leaf wrap that is used in the manufacturing of a cigar intended for retail sale."

I.e. in the name of suppressing the "drug" cannabis they appear to be banning products which might be nicotine-free, while explicitly permitting ones known to ALWAYS contain nicotine!

Don't be fooled, folks. Many times, at an urban bus shelter or in a waste can, you see a little pile of loose tobacco and near it a small "baggy" such as must have contained a $10 gram of you-know-what. The youngster, guided by song lyrics by guys with names like "Tupac" and "Cool", has borrowed a cigar-skin to wrap marijuana in, discarding the cigar tobacco filler (doubtless unaware that the wrap also contains nicotine). After spending $10 on ganja with intent to smoke it all away in minutes, it's no big deal for such an individual to spend another $1 on a real cigar just for the "wrap". This ignorant anti-marijuana ordinance thus actually steers youngsters toward nicotine drug addiction.

Oh by the way, has it occurred to anyone that glamorizing the "blunt" (mix-with-nicotine) in songs earned some artists a paying gig in a bar or club which made money selling alcohol and $igarettes? How many times did the Big Bucks tobackgo industry slip money under the table to entertainers to push this? Wake up, Bishop Trotter.

Mon, 03/22/2010 - 6:41pm Permalink
Mary (not verified)

The very idea that the ban of blunt wraps alone would make any significant difference is an insult to our intelligence. Are we to believe that by passing this law our kids will no longer be able to smoke marijuana? No! This is simply not the case. People have been smoking weed for years and will continue to smoke regardless of the availibility of their devices to do it with. If you were to give a pot head an interview and asked him/her the question "If blunt wraps were illegal would you stop smoking weed?" I guarantee you the answer is bound to be followed with a chuckle. What the churches are attempting is noble because all they are concerned about is the safety of their community. If they wanted to make a change in the community this is not the way to do it. This bill limits the endless means through which an individual can smoke marijuana. We would have to make everything illegal in order to prohibit people from smoking this plant. Glass pieces, hookahs, ciggarettes, cigars, apples, tin foil; all of these can be used to smoke weed. In conclusion, by illegalizing blunt wraps all we are doing is inconveniencing the smoker and limiting their options of what they can smoke out of.

Wed, 03/24/2010 - 12:07am Permalink
Jack (not verified)

by Anonymous-- "Right Wing Extremest? Not quite. This is left wing Chicago Politics, just like the White House. Liberty means nothing to these people. You don't like it and we will shut you down!"

Sat, 07/03/2010 - 11:06pm Permalink

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