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Monday, August 16, 2010

Mich. legion post challenges smoking ban

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BARAGA, Mich., Aug. 15 (UPI) -- A Michigan American Legion post says its court fight to allow smoking in its post tavern is about the freedom and liberty they fought to defend.

American Legion Post 444 in Baraga, Mich., sued the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department to strike down as unconstitutional the department's order to end indoor smoking, the Detroit Free Press reported Sunday.

Foucault-Funke Post 444 finds itself at the center of a possible decisive showdown for the new state law, the newspaper said.

"It's not about the smoking," post spokesman Joseph O'Leary says. "It's about the right to choose to allow the use of a legal substance on our property."

The post owns and runs the tavern in Baraga at the base of the Keweenaw Bay in the Upper Peninsula.

The post wasn't seeking a confrontation with the state or local health authorities, its leaders say.

But after the new law went into effect, they say, it was time to take a stand.

"These are guys who put their lives on the line for their country," O'Leary says.

"They said, 'Wait a minute. This is our property. This is not heroin. Nobody in the world who doesn't like smoke has to walk through that door,'" he says.

"They just decided enough is enough."