• June 24, 2024

Newman Petitions to Import Cuban Tobacco

 Newman Petitions to Import Cuban Tobacco
Photo: danmir12

J.C. Newman Cigar Co. has asked the U.S. Department of State for permission to import Cuban tobacco grown by “independent Cuban entrepreneurs” into the United States. The State Department currently allows American companies to legally import coffee and a few other products from Cuba. If granted, J.C. Newman will be able to import the first Cuban tobacco into the United States in 60 years.

“My family has a long history with Cuban tobacco,” said Drew Newman, great-grandson of company founder J.C. Newman, in a statement. “From 1895 until President Kennedy imposed the Cuban Embargo in 1962, my grandfather and great-grandfather imported millions of pounds of tobacco from Cuba through Tampa. Our last shipment of Cuban tobacco was the subject of a legal dispute decided by the Supreme Court.”

J.C. Newman saved its final bale of Cuban tobacco, which is now the last bale of pre-embargo Cuban tobacco in the United States. This 60-year-old tobacco continues to age in the basement of J.C. Newman’s historic El Reloj cigar factory in Ybor City. 

Under the so-called Sec. 515.582 program, the State Department allows “commercial imports of certain specified goods and services produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs” in order to “help promote [the Cuban people’s] independence from Cuban authorities.” To help support Cuban independence, J.C. Newman is requesting that the State Department include raw tobacco grown by independent farmers in this program.

Authorizing the importation of raw tobacco grown in Cuba would allow us to support independent Cuban entrepreneurs and to prove, once again, that we can roll better cigars with Cuban tobacco than Cuba can.

Drew Newman

“Prior to the Embargo, far more cigars were rolled with Cuban tobacco in Tampa than in Cuba because Tampa was home to the world’s best cigar factories,” said Newman. “Authorizing the importation of raw tobacco grown in Cuba would allow us to support independent Cuban entrepreneurs and to prove, once again, that we can roll better cigars with Cuban tobacco than Cuba can.”