I have previously written about the criminalization of America as politicians turn every objectionable act into a crime. I have criticized this trend in columns (here and here) and numerous blogs on the criminalization of using artificial turf to growing vegetable gardens to eating french fries in the subway. Now owners of an old-fashioned soda shop in St. Paul, Minn. were threatened with fines and a misdemeanor citation unless they stopped selling novelty candy cigarettes. Lynden’s Soda Fountain was unaware that it was committing a crime by selling the long-common items.
City inspectors warned Lynden’s Soda Fountain that it was in flagrant violation of an ordinance barring the sale of candy cigarettes and cartoon character lighters. The ban also applies to items like Big League Chew chewing gum. The store sells most of the vintage candy cigarettes to adults in their 40s and 50s but the city has barred the right of adults to buy such items in another example, in my view, of a nanny state mentality.
Making the law even less logical is that fact that Minneapolis allows such sales. The owner said “We have to send them over to our sister city – Minneapolis – to get their candy smokes.”
The ordinance was enacted to discourage youngsters from eventually using real cigarettes. I understand that good motivation. However, even if such items should not be sold to children, I fail to see why they cannot be sold to adults.