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Massachusetts tells New Hampshire fireworks concern to knock it off with its marketing south of Seabrook

Massachusetts Attorney General's office today warned Phantom Fireworks to stop sending Bay Staters ads for fireworks or risk an explosive lawsuit.

A cease-and-desist letter from Max Weinstein, chief of the AG's Consumer Protection Division, comes too late to stop this year's southward barrage of direct-mail fliers from Phantom, but is a warning not to do it next year or risk having their wicks cut off in court.

Weinsten writes that not only is Phantom is breaking two Massachusetts laws: One our prohibition against fireworks, the other a section of the Massachusetts consumer-protection law that makes it illegal to be "directly marketing a product to Massachusetts residents that is illegal to possess or use inMassachusetts and by proposing that Massachusetts residents engage in conduct that the Massachusetts Legislature has deemed to be unsafe and illegal."

Accordingly, this letter constitutes a demand that Phantom Fireworks immediately cease and desist from violating Massachusetts law by mailing, delivering or directing advertisements for fireworks to residents of Massachusetts.

Please be advised that should Phantom Fireworks continue to engage in the aforementioned conduct, the Attorney General may take legal action against Phantom Fireworks, and seek appropriate injunctive relief, civil penalties, consumer restitution, costs, and attorney’s fees.

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Comments

But it's alright for Channel 7 to be advertising fireworks?

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I assume that advertisements on Channel 7, which has a reach into New Hampshire, would fall under the jurisdiction of the FCC and interstate commerce.

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but I also hate silencing the flow of information.

I'd think an interstate mailing would also fall under interstate commerce.

What about website banner ads for that matter? (Junk emails and phone calls are already banned for other reasons.)

MA residents are allowed to go to NH, buy fireworks, and set them off in NH. I can't see how MA could ban advertising this, any more than they could ban ads for beach vacations in Maine to protect the Cape tourism industry.

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almost everytime i drive by one of the fireworks are illegal signs im hearing a commercial on the radio for fireworks!!!

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Zo was reading an ad for fireworks on 98.5 just this afternoon. And it wasn't too long ago that there were at least 2 billboards in Dorchester for Phantom. I dont know if they're still there.

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Radio may be a tough one to enforce.

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there are several Phantom Billboards throughout Boston. Can the AG fine MA billboard owners for putting these ads up? The radio stations for playing the ads?
I'm old enough to remember being summarily tossed out of a head shop for uttering the word "bong" while the shop-keep recited some MA legalese at me.
But this is fine though?

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I had a similar experience in a corner store a long time ago. I asked for "rolling papers", and was told they dont sell them because they are illegal. I looked at the EZ Widers behind the counter and asked for "cigarette papers", and that way I could buy them.

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I remember being in a head shop that had a sign saying "Anyone who uses an illegal word will not be served." I remember thinking "Huh, we've got illegal words now..."

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This is what the drug war has done. Officially, head shops sell products for tobacco use that (wink, wink) could also be used for MJ use. But the DEA was able to get the prohibition laws to apply to such dual-use products if the store even hinted at their use for MJ or other illegal drugs. So the DEA would send in undercovers, ask for products under the names a MJ smoker would use, and then the store would be busted for selling MJ paraphernalia.

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Your tax dollars at work.

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This is why evil-doers tremble when the finely-tuned machinery of The Commonwealth is set into motion against them.

A cease-and-desist letter from Max Weinstein, chief of the AG's Consumer Protection Division, comes too late to stop this year's southward barrage of direct-mail fliers from Phantom, but is a warning not to do it next year or risk having their wicks cut off in court.

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Why, they may even send *two* strongly worded letters next year!

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I've been hating the nightly fireworks myself.

But what gives you the idea that Mass could legally prohibit companies from advertising on tv/radio/billboards? Especially when a large part of the NH population receives Boston stations?

Frankly, I'm not sure they'd win a case about direct mail, either. But at least that is "direct".

* IANAL. But I doubt there's much good legal logic behind your whining.

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And this is our forum for planning and enacting anti-American schemes.

We're coming for your sparklers, anon!

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The MA law that "outlaws" fireworks also provides an exception for permitted buyers, "(2)" in the last paragraph of the MGL link.

All the fireworks company has to do is add appropriate caveats to their ad, that buyers understand fireworks are regulated in MA, should not be brought back to MA unless one is permitted blah blah blah, and the lawsuit just turns into a big waste of time and tax money. Similar to the situation head shops are in, refusing sales if they "know" someone is going to use the paraphernalia for illegal-drug use, or how hacker websites claim the information is "for educational use only."

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Everyone knows where to get fireworks. I'm not even sure why they'd advertise here, they're wasting their money.

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They've only got so much shelfspace and have pre-ordered the season's product. And considering many of those places are located near each other it makes sense to advertise crazy deals so the 8 weeks a year where you literally make ALL of your money isn't a complete loss.

I don't agree with them being able to use direct advertising in Mass but I do understand why they're doing it.

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Everyone knows where to get cheap fast food, but McDonald's advertises every day.

Also, a lot of Mass residents have vacation homes (or go camping) in NH. And most NH residents receive Boston TV/Radio stations.

. Everyone knows where to get fireworks. I'm not even sure why they'd advertise here, they're wasting their money.

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I used to travel I-91 pretty frequently and there was a billboard outside Greenfield (Massachusetts) advertising NH fireworks, had to be 10 years ago now.

What's changed? Why the sudden concern?

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1. Conspiracy theories amongst the left

2. Lots of people with free time to shoot off fireworks this year

3. Underemployed state law enforcement

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It's there every year. This year it's out of control and they're trying whatever they can to address it.

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How about prosecuting the individuals that buy them and set them off in Boston. It’s not always someone else’s fault.

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Why not do both?

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That's impossible to police. So next idea.

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Good luck suing a New Hampshire store in Massachusetts courts.

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It's actually an Ohio based company. But the law they broke was in Massachusetts.

The Herald is also reporting that the company has responded that they will stop breaking that law. So...

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Phantom Fireworks sales just went through the roof. They will have to hire police details to control the traffic at their parking lots after this free advertisement from the Attorney General.

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