When cigarettes are outlawed, only outlaws will have cigarettes. And that could prove a real drag for dedicated smokers, at least in Oregon.
Here's the skinny: A veteran Oregon lawmaker is proposing legislation that would make cigarettes a Schedule III controlled substance (like lysergic acid and anabolic steroids), which means it would be illegal to walk around with a pack of Marlboro Lights in your pocket. And if you give one to your smoke-bumming buddy, that too would be illegal. Get caught with a Camel, and you're looking at up to a year in the slammer, a $6,250 fine -- or both!
But here's our favorite part of Rep. Mitch Greenlick's bill (click here to read it in its entirety):If you went out and got a doctor's prescription to smoke yourself silly, then you are in the clear.
Which, of course, begs question -- what kind of maniac doctor would say, "Feeling a little put out without your nicotine? No problem. Here you go, take this down to your pharmacist and he'll set you up with a few cartons of American Spirits."
Greenlick, a Portland Democrat, is no legislative backbencher. The 77-year-old solon has been striding the halls of Salem's capitol for a decade and co-chairs the House Health Care Committee. He is also the director and founder of Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research Foundation Hospitals.
Rep. Mitch Greenlick: The man who would like to put you in jail for smoking -- without a doctor's prescription
Greenlick is vacationing in New York, his legislative assistant, Autumn Shreve, informed us yesterday, and was unavailable to discuss his anti-smoking measure, which the Oregon Legislature may or may not address when its session convenes Feb. 4.
But Shreve did volunteer that her boss dropped a similar bill in 2011 and it went nowhere, "and he doesn't think this one is going anywhere, either."
A pity, don't you think.