Boston’s ban on ‘blunt wraps’ upheld
Cigar makers’ appeal rejected
The Massachusetts Appeals Court yesterday upheld the City of Boston’s ban on the sale of cigar wraps or “blunt wraps,’’ the rolling papers that are used by some youths to make marijuana cigars.
The court said that the Boston Public Health Commission’s 2008 regulation was a “permissible exercise of the commission’s expansive authority to safeguard public health and is constitutional in its origins and operation. The regulation is rationally related to its permissible purpose of protecting residents of Boston, particularly young residents, from the harmful effects of tobacco use.’’
The RYO Cigar Association Inc., a trade association of cigar wrap manufacturers, and New Image Global Inc., a wrap manufacturer, had appealed from a judgment by the Superior Court dismissing their 2009 lawsuit.
The Appeals Court rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the regulation of the wraps, which are typically made of tobacco, was arbitrary, capricious, and beyond the commission’s power.
The three-judge panel of the court, in an opinion written by Justice James McHugh, said: “The regulation challenged here fits comfortably within the zone delineated by prior tobacco regulations. Cigar wraps, the regulatory targets, are tobacco products. The regulation’s stated purpose is the protection of public health, particularly the health of Boston’s young people, from the harmful effects of tobacco products.’’
Andrew J. McElaney Jr., attorney for the plaintiffs, did not return a message seeking comment.