The company that makes the Zig-Zag brand of tobacco rolling papers wants a federal judge to stop the District of Columbia from enforcing a new law that effectively bans the sale of cigar wrappers.
The National Tobacco Company LP, based in Kentucky, said the recent legislation bans the sale of cigar wrappers under the city’s drug paraphernalia laws. The city’s law, according to lawyers for the company, is in conflict with federal regulations.
The suit [.pdf], filed Feb. 14 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks a declaration that the law is unconstitutional. Lawyers for the company, represented by New York’s Shaub, Ahmuty, Citrin & Spratt, have also asked for a permanent injunction.
A Shaub partner Raymond Castello, who chairs the firm’s criminal defense department, was not immediately reached for comment this afternoon. Acting D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan was also not immediately reached for comment on the suit.
National Tobacco says it is the fourth largest manufacturer of roll-your-own tobacco products. A company executive, Ronald Tully, said in an affidavit filed with the suit that the company has lost business relations with 26 stores in the District that had distributed Zig-Zag cigar wrappers for years.
The case was assigned to Judge Robert Wilkins, a former Venable partner in Washington who took the bench in December.