There's a big perk to the U.S. decision to normalize diplomatic relations buried in the fine print Wednesday: Americans who visit the country will now be able to bring back Cuban cigars.
According to the Obama administration, licensed U.S. travelers to Cuba will be able to bring back $400 worth of goods and merchandise, of which no more than $100 can consist of both alcohol and tobacco products. Cuba is known for its cigars and rum. Mojitos, anyone?
People who travel to Cuba can "purchase up to $100 worth of tobacco products to bring back to the United States," a senior administration official said Tuesday.
But don't even think about trying to sell the cigars in the United States -- the goods are not for resale.
"As I understand it, this won’t change anything on the commercial side of things," Anthony Welsch, a founder of cigarscity.com, wrote in an e-mail. "We won’t be able to import Cuban cigars and resell them domestically. In that regard, it’s a bit of a letdown and will just create a lot of confusion in the marketplace, in my opinion."
Welsch said there is a whole lot of interest and "mystique" surrounding Cuban cigars. He said that many people assume they sell Cuban cigars off the books, but that's not the case. They don't sell any at all. He said some people think Cuban cigars are the best, but Dominican cigar making and tobacco farming have made huge strides since the Cuban embargo started.
"If the U.S. ever goes “all-in” and opens up the commercial side of things, it’ll be a fascinating case study of that Cuban mystique," Welsch wrote. "There’s definitely a forbidden fruit factor there, it’s just hard to account for people’s tastes, you know?"