A tiny amendment buried in the federal transportation bill to be signed today by President Barack Obama will put operators of roll-your-own cigarette operations in Las Vegas and nationwide out of business at midnight.
Robert Weissen, with his brothers and other partners, own nine Sin City Cigarette Factory locations in Southern Nevada, including six in Las Vegas, and one in Hawaii. He said when the bill is signed their only choice is to turn off their 20 RYO Filling Station machines and lay off more than 40 employees.
There is a morality tale here. This is classic power politics. Track this back through the process and you’ll find the fingers of cigarette manufactures all over this.
Now, it is a little known fact that I, Cosmic, used to be a smoker. And at first I used to smoke “Marlboro’s”. But anyone who knows me knows how I deal with hobbies. Soon, after falling in love with books written by Louis L’Amour, I found myself intrigued by a scene in one of L’Amour’s books where the protagonist rolled his own cigarette with one hand, while holding a gun on the villain as I recall…
That seemed to be a very practical skill to me for some reason. So I began buying chopped tobacco and “Zig-Zag” cigarette papers. Back then you could buy “Zig-Zag” papers anywhere. Even if you were 15 or 16 years old, which I was at the time.
So I learned how to roll my own cigarettes. And, yes, eventually I did master the “one-handed rolling” technique. It’s not really that hard. At the highwater mark of my cigarette rolling career, my cigarettes were as round and firm and regular as any commercially purchased cigarette.
One trick was to use a piece of paper (usually a dollar bill) to tighten up the roll for a near-perfect cigarette.
I didn’t smoke long. Maybe not even a year. And I haven’t rolled a cigarette since. I suspect I could still do it, it’s not hard.
Something about me always regrets not using a skill I once mastered… So even though I don’t smoke now, I still find myself wanting to roll up a cigarette from time to time just to see if I can still do it.