Yesterday, a good friend of mine came over for a few days. Therefore, I took the day off and went to pick him up from the airport. We didn't see each other for almost one year. As soon as he came out of the airport, he took a look at the road, and said to me that the Alberta asphalt was worse than Montreal.
On the way home, he told me a story that happened to him right before his departure. He is a smoker, and because for the moment he was in between jobs, he decided to buy his cigarettes from the Kahnawake reserve.
He continued his story by saying that there; you could purchase cigarettes for a much lower price. He wanted to buy two bags, each one containing 200 cigarettes. That would have been enough for him for one month. One such bag was sold for the price $10.
Thus, three days ago, he woke up, had his breakfast and drove to Kahnawake, in order to buy his cigarettes. When he got there, he got off the car and entered one of the small shops on the side of road. He stepped in, greeted the man standing behind the counter, and asked him for two bags of cigarettes. He handed him a bill of twenty dollars, took his two bags, and headed towards his car.
He started the engine, and thought of taking the Mercier bridge on his way back. After crossing the bridge, he heard the siren of a police car. He saw the police car was right behind him, and he pulled over to the side of the road. The police officer came to his car, and asked for his driver's licence.
When the officer looked at my friend, he saw the two bags of cigarettes on the passenger's seat. He told him that he was not supposed to have those in the car, because those cigarettes were illegal.
My friend showed him the receipt he had received, but that did not count for much. The officer explained to him he had to seize the two bags. He added that because he was in a good mood and his shift had just started, he would let him go without giving him a ticket. Thus, no charge or ticket.
Tom, my friend, was grateful to be off the hook. He thanked the officer and drove straight home. The whole idea of being charged for buying contraband tobacco scared him.
According to the officer, he would have had to pay around $ 0.25 per cigarette, on top to the $250 fine for purchasing illegal unmarked cigarettes.
When he got home, he googled the Tobacco Tax Act. He wanted to find out what were the consequences of breaking the law. He landed up on a page of the Ministry of Finances, which was addressing the contraband tobacco. There, he read all the things that the police officer had told him.
I was as surprised as him, to find out about this law. Thank God, I am not a smoker!