Smoking Ban Show Down In Fargo


The owner of a cigar club in Fargo thinks he’s found a loophole in the anti-smoking law. He wants to allow his customers to smoke in a members-only section of his bar which on he works in, accessible only by members who pay a fee and get access through an electric key.

But according to the anti-smoking gestapo, he’s still breaking the law and they’re pressing charges.

The director of Fargo Cass Public Health said she plans to file a complaint with Cass County prosecutors against the owner of JT Cigarro, who has been allowing people to continue smoking in a “members only” room through what he has called a “loophole” in the law.

Ruth Bachmeier said she has attempted for weeks to reach out to bar owner Dana Coulter to get him in compliance with the law, but she is hitting a wall.

“I don’t anticipate that by our education we’re going to change the mindset,” Bachmeier said. “He believes that he’s found a loophole, and no amount of education is going to change how he is interpreting the law.”

Yes. Clearly Mr. Coulter needs to be re-educated.

This really shows just what a travesty this law is. North Dakotans who want to smoke can’t go to a place where the only people allowed are people who want to smoke and enjoy tobacco. There’s no second hand smoke issue for other customers or employees, but still they’re not allowed to make that choice.

Which, again, shows that the anti-tobacco crusade isn’t so much about public health as it is about control. It’s about eradicating tobacco from society entirely, and that’s not something which should happen in a free society.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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