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Legislature wants to tax your blunt wrappers

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More news on Florida’s war on potheads.

The Senate Finance and Tax Committee unanimously approved a “blunt wrap” tax Tuesday. The type of rolling paper used to wrap cigars (or giant joints) would be subject to tobacco taxes under the proposed law.

Here’s the deal: Lawmakers really, really wants to tax your blunt wrappers. But they’ve hit some bumps. A court found earlier this year that the flavored wrappers could not be taxed the same as tobacco because they aren’t actually a tobacco product. The wrappers are made primarily of paper and flavoring.

The comparison was that calling the wrappers a tobacco product was like calling a piece of paper loose wood.

During that committee meeting there probably wasn’t much mention of what most people use them to wrap, but no mind.

In the wake of the clearly devastating legal blow – taxes are only cool among Florida’s uber-conservative Legislature when it’s taxing things that are bad for you, mmmkay – lawmakers just decided to make it a law instead.

Makes sense.

When a smoker goes into the local Quickie Mart to grab a pack of smokes, they pay a boatload in taxes for that product. Likewise for those DIY smokers who buy loose tobacco.

But for the tokers out there (those who smoke marijuana cigarettes) there’s no such tax burden. First, weed’s illegal. That means no buying it in 7-11 and certainly no taxes. Drug dealers don’t burden themselves with tax laws.

So, since legalizing marijuana for medical use isn’t so much a thing in Florida, let alone letting folks use the drug for pure recreation, why not tax a part of pot-smoking that is legal – blunt wraps?

Now there’s a solution if ever there was one. Those are some smart dudes up there in Tallahassee.

And again, what happened to that whole “taxes are bad” mentality Florida lawmakers seem so married to? Isn’t this an additional tax?

But don’t worry, Cheech, even though the measure passed a committee unanimously, it’s probably not going anywhere. The House has not yet proposed a companion bill.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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