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Weekly Cigar News Sampler: Bumper Tobacco Crop in Cuba, FDA Legal Updates, and More

4 Aug 2017

As we have since July 2006, each Friday we’ll post our sampling of cigar news and other items of interest from the week. Below is our latest, which is the 541st in the series.

1) Cuban farmers in the storied Pinar del Río province are harvesting a bumper tobacco crop, and they expect to increase acreage even more next year, according to news reports. Much of the country is struggling with drought, so additional wells are being drilled and irrigation systems expanded to accommodate the additional planting. Exported premium cigars are said to generate about $450 million a year for Cuba.

2) With the override of a gubernatorial veto, Maine this week became the latest state to raise the minimum age for tobacco purchases to 21. (Others that have approved the change are California, Hawaii, Oregon, and New Jersey.) Voting for the increase in both legislative chambers crossed the required two-thirds majority. Gov. Paul LePage, in opposing the change, had referred to raising the age as “social engineering.”

3) Inside the Industry: A lawsuit filed last year by Frank Herrera’s law firm on behalf of several cigar makers challenging FDA cigar regulations has been suspended. Herrera posted the document to stay the case on Facebook. He wrote that the FDA’s three-year extension for implementation of the substantial equivalence provision regarding cigars “provides relief for issues that were raised” in the lawsuit. Either party is allowed to reopen the case in the future. Meanwhile, Judge Amit Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has granted a 30-day delay in the lawsuit brought by Cigar Rights of America, IPCPR, and the Cigar Association of America against the FDA. It is assumed the extension is intended to buy time for the Department of Justice, the agency that is representing the FDA, to determine how FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb’s new tobacco regulation plan impacts premium cigars.

4) From the Archives: San Andrés wrapper is seemingly everywhere these days, including on many of the cigars that were introduced at the recent IPCPR Trade Show. Back in May 2015, we published our thoughts on Mexican tobacco. You can revisit that piece here.

5) Deal of the Week: recommends Bespoke Post, a monthly collection of awesome items (think fine bar accessories, shaving kits, wine, workout gear, coffee kits, and more) delivered for just $45. You can skip or purchase every month. Sign up here.

The Stogie Guys

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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