The city of Boulder, long known to Colorado residents as “The People’s Republik of Boulder” and “Twelve Square Miles Surrounded by Reality,” is cracking down on tobacco use and, in so doing, creating a lucrative opportunity for smugglers. Excerpt:
Rich Marianos, a retired assistant director with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms warned those decisions come with consequences. He said, without proper resources, Boulder could face a new black market.
“What has time told us,” Marianos said. “When we put in a prohibition, we create crime, just like when we tried to instill the Volstead Act into illegal alcohol in the 20s and 30s.”
Last week, Boulder City Council finalized a plan to ban flavored e-cigarettes as well as raise the age to buy tobacco and nicotine products to 21. They also agreed to let voters approve of a 40% sales tax on the remaining legal vaping products.
Marianos warned the combination of these proposals would create a black market.
“An example could be they were going to Colorado Springs where the taxes may be lower and then bringing them to Boulder and sell them at a higher rate,” Marianos said.
He called cigarette trafficking “the new face of organized crime.” He also said terrorist organizations use it to fund their illegal operations and moves like these would require law enforcement to do more with less.
But it’s for the children!
Every time you ban an item or a commodity, you create a black market. You create a lucrative opportunity for criminals, and you make criminals out of normal citizens who buy products from the black marketeers. That was the lesson of Prohibition in the United States, but that was a lesson that the city of Boulder (and New York, and San Francisco, and many other locales) clearly hasn’t learned.
The Soviet Union couldn’t even stop this, not even given the near-total control they had over the people. There was a burgeoning black market in the Soviet Union, with everything from onions to automobiles sold “Nalevo” or “on the left.” Boulder won’t have any more luck, and arguably even less, since you can go right up the road to Lyons, or Greeley, or (as the article notes) down to the Springs and buy anything you want.
Still. It’s not the first stupid idea the Boulder City Council ever had, and it sure won’t be the last.