A New Jersey Senate committee gave initial approval to a bill banning pharmacies from selling tobacco and e-cigarettes on Tuesday. Bill S992 was amended to include retailers with pharmacies such as supermarkets and big box retailers. The bill follows a New York City law that went into effect in January 2019 banning the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products from pharmacies including supermarkets and big-box stores with a pharmacy.
State Senator Joe Vitale D-Middlesex sponsor of the bill and Committee Chairperson said “They have to make a decision: Do they want to sell cigarettes, or do they want to offer prescriptions to their patrons?”
State Senator Bob Singer R-Ocean criticized the bill for allowing pharmacies to sell medical marijuana if they’re licensed to do so but not cigarettes saying “We are not allowing a legal item to be sold in a pharmacy. We’re saying you can’t sell it. Yet we’re selling marijuana to be smoked. If you’re against smoking you’re against smoking.”
It seems that Democrats in Trenton have no problem banning legal products like tobacco and e-cigarettes but take issue with banning a product that is federally illegal like marijuana.
Cigarette taxes bring $700 million in tax revenue to the State of New Jersey each year. New Jersey’s cigarette tax is $1.05 per pack higher than the average in the U.S. In a state facing budget shortfalls, ridiculously high tax rates and is the #1 state in the nation that people leave New Jersey cannot afford to jeopardize any potential revenue stream.
In reality this bill will do nothing to make people quit smoking. People will simply move from buying cigarettes at supermarkets and big box retailers to gas stations and convenience stores. New Jersey might even increase it’s tax revenues as cigarette prices tend to be higher at these smaller retailers. Is that the motive for this bill?
Democratic New Jersey lawmakers have a warped sense of right and wrong when they feel it’s OK to ban the sale of a legal product while endorsing the sale of an illegal product. Kind of like taking tax dollars from legal citizens to give it to illegal immigrants.
Another bill that advanced Tuesday prohibits coupons, rebates and price reduction promotions in sales of tobacco and vapor products. New Jersey needs to protect it’s tax revenues!
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