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Black Market Warns of Colorado Cigarette Shortage
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DENVER, Colorado - Leaders of the Alcohol and Tobacco division of the Denver Black Market Cabal have made it clear that they will not be able to fill the vacuum in sales left by the new 320% tax increase on cigarettes, set to take effect in less than a month. "We blame the politicians," said one black marketer who gave the name 'Lou', "If they'd given us a little notice here, we coulda put some pressure on further up the pipe and the good people of Colorado would be enjoying a cheap smoke on January 2nd. As it is, it could easily be the end of the first quarter before we can move any product into Denver."

"The vast majority of Coloradans are honest, law-abiding people."
-- Senator Mark Hillman
"I would venture to say that the vast majority of Coloradans are honest, law-abiding people," remarked Senator Mark Hillman, "Buying illicit, untaxed cigarettes would be the furthest thing from their minds. The voters of this state put this law into place. This isn't our law, it isn't some lobbyist's law. This is a law by and for the people."

"I'm a people," intoned Benny O'Brien, "I voted against it, but what's that get ya'? Smoking kills fewer people each year than auto accidents, you know. Fewer people than suicide. Fewer people than gun violence. So why not pick on that stuff?"

"I don't know what I'm going to do," said Heather Bonetti, a working mother of three, "I can barely afford cigarettes now. I guess I could start rolling my own." Faced with the nearly $4 per pack price for generic brands, many smokers have made similar comments. Few have said they were willing to quit smoking.

"Four dollars!?" exclaimed Barney Jolene, a businessman visiting from New York, "That's nothing! Back home, I'm paying $7 for lousy smokes, and $10 a pack for the brand I actually like. I may move to Denver just to save on cigarettes. And the fresh air's nice, too."

"Yeah, that's a problem too," admitted 'Lou', "After the tax hike, legal cigs still aren't a bad deal. We can undercut it a bit, but there's sure no room for competition. At least we're getting our foot in the door. When next year's vote gloms a bit more on, we'll look more and more attractive."
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