Mich. lawmakers pass penalties for illegal smokes

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

The Michigan Legislature has passed bills aimed at punishing store owners and others caught with tobacco smuggled from around the country.

The state is a ripe destination for illegal cigarettes because of its high per-pack tax.

Bills sent to Gov. Jennifer Granholm Thursday and early Friday would make it a civil infraction to have as few as 180 illegal cigarettes, or nearly one carton's worth.

The state treasurer also would be able to suspend a store's sales tax license if it sells tobacco products illegally.

Law enforcement officials say taking away a store's license could be a more powerful deterrent than criminal penalties because smugglers can get a slap on the wrist from prosecutors and judges.


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