Thursday, October 07, 2004

Why do the Smoke Police always go after the small stuff?

Mayor Bloomberg's nation-leading (if this is "leading") anti-smoking law makes not only smoking but also possessing ashtrays illegal on business premises in NYC. One video store owner fined for giving an ashtray to a customer to put out a cigarette complained, "During Prohibition alcohol was illegal, but they didn't make the shot glasses illegal." Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair, fought a brave running public battle with the Smoke Gesta Police in the pages of the New York Times and elsewhere...

"They have raided my office three times. They are allowed to come into your office looking for an ashtray. The city actually spent money training them on how to identify one. I wasn't even in my office during the last raid. The ashtray was just sitting there, lonely and unused. The time before that, I waved them away and told them to piss off."
... before being beaten into surrender.

Ah, but all the while the crew at High Times have been happily puffing away so much that they've reportedly almost put it out of business.

... they're in dire straits because the staff spends the day smoking pot...
Although the publisher denies it -- denies the financial problem, that is.

... publisher Richard Stratton conceded that some of the 20 staffers at the mag's headquarters at Park Ave. and 28th St. sample their stash during business hours, but insisted that profits were not just a hallucination...
Maybe they don't use ashtrays?

It was left to Mr Carter to frame the obvious question -- and supply the answer. "Has New York gone bonkers?" he asked. "Yes!" (ibid)