(TRENTON) – The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee today advanced a bill sponsored by Senator Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester) to increase penalties for selling counterfeit cigarettes. New Jersey has had a long history of cigarette smuggling, and officials have seen an explosion of activity in the last five years.
“The fact of the matter is that this business is lucrative for criminals and dangerous for our state’s residents,” said Senator Norcross, chair of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee. “The penalties currently in place do not appropriately reflect the severity of the crime being committed, and the situation will only continue to escalate if we fail to act now.”
According to recent reports, a bulk of the counterfeit cigarettes sold in New Jersey are smuggled in from states with lower sales taxes to be sold at a high profit. The backbone of the trade consists of highly organized gangs that have switched from selling illicit drugs and weapons to cigarettes because of the increased profit margins and significantly lower penalties for conviction. It has also been reported that larger gangs set up branches in the area to use the traffic of cigarettes to bankroll other operations.
Norcross’s legislation would enhance penalties and fines against those caught selling illegal cigarettes. It also increases transparency of sales and strengthens state licensing and reporting requirements to more effectively assist New Jersey law enforcement.
“Gangs who take advantage of the relatively minor penalties surrounding tobacco theft are a threat to public safety throughout our region,” Senator Norcross added. “By helping our law enforcement officers crack down on Tobacco Road, we can stem the flow of money going out of our state and into the pockets of criminals.”
The American Cancer Society has endorsed the bill, which was passed out of committee unanimously and will now be considered by the full Senate.
Add U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez's name to the list of Democrats around the state unhappy with the choice of Assemblyman Jason O'Donnell as state party chairman.Read More >
Shavar Jeffries launches 2014 mayoral campaign in Newark NEWARK - The Boys and Girls clubs hosted the professionally staged announcement for Shavar Jeffries’ Mayoral candidacy announcement. Over 400 supporters packed the gym, some of whom had already committed to the candidate, while others were still undecided. Max Pizarro-PolitickerNJ.com http://www.politickernj.com/65777/shavar-jeffries-launches-2014-campaign-mayor-son-newark...
By Tedford J. Taylor No topic is a less likely conversation-starter than our eventual deaths. Still, there is a lot to talk about. When polled, about 90 percent of people presented with end-of-life scenarios prefer the prospect of dying at home with... Read More >
"I'm beyond disgusted by his choice." - Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly on Paterson Councilman Anthony Davis' decision to back Gov. Chris Christie.- PolitickerNJ.com
Press releases are submitted by PolitickerNJ users, not by staff. They do not represent the viewpoint of PolitickerNJ.com.