“Clearly the discrepancy between North Carolina which has a 4 cent per pack tax, and Maryland has whatever it is now, $2 a pack,” Franchot said. “That discrepancy is the opportunity for these criminals to make money.Criminals? My understanding of the law is that even if you don't sell the cigarettes that you bring back into the state, rather you just consume them yourself, you are still considered to be in violation of state law. So you are still a criminal, a 'smuggler'. But, if people are leaving the state to buy their smokes in say Virginia, where the tax is 30 cents a pack, Maryland is $2, well whose fault is that? The state of Maryland can cut the tax on smokes, and collect more revenue; rather they want to deny freedom of choice to smokers. Maryland is saying to smokers, if you are going to buy cigarettes and smoke them in Maryland, then you better have bought them instate and paid Maryland's high taxes. In effect you better have overpaid for your smokes, and if you didn't, well, you are a criminal,a smuggler. Another quote for you:
“We do believe we’re catching only a small portion of the people running up and down the highways every day. In fact, recently we debriefed an individual who said 40 people a day left his neighborhood to travel to Virginia to pick up cigarettes,” said Earl Fowlkes, field enforcement.Choosing to go to a different state to avoid higher costs? That sounds like freedom to me!