Updated Feb. 4 & 5
Note the sentence “Without the supportive infrastructure our government used to provide [see Update 2 below], a small company such as ours cannot continue.” This is an obvious reference to the pending FDA rules — “deeming regulations” — that would regulate — read: stifle — pipe tobacco manufacturers and retailers. When (if?) the rules take effect, “new” blends would be very costly to introduce. And “new” wouldn’t even mean actually new, but blends that went on the market after some arbitrary past date. The original date specified was Feb. 15, 2007, though this could be changed to Aug. 8, 2016. Think of the effect on smaller companies! Moreover, retail tobacconists would be treated as manufacturers whenever they mixed two or more tobaccos already on the market and would effectively be stopped because the cost would be prohibitive. Blending might even include scooping 2 ounces from a larger bag of bulk tobacco. Other draconian rules are in the offing — such as treating pipes like tobacco products rather than accessories — unless Congress, a court, or the FDA itself scraps these outrageous rules. The compliance date is now set for 2021. This change from August of this year has been interpreted as portending a softening of the FDA’s attitude. We can hope so, but nothing short of repeal could make me feel confident that pipe and cigar smokers are safe.
More on this madness in future posts. Many in the YouTube Pipe Community are keeping up with this. On last year’s hopeful developments, see Derek Tant’s video here.
UPDATE 2: According to a statement read by Bradley at StuffandThings, the McNeils are closing McClelland not only because of the lack of quality red Virginia and the FDA threat but also because the government ended subsidies to tobacco growers (some time ago). For the record, the government never should have supported tobacco growers or any other crop or industry. Why should anyone be forced to support business people?