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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 May, 2003, 13:57 GMT 14:57 UK
Australian furore over marijuana phone covers
Man smoking
The phones smell of marijuana smoke

Marijuana-scented mobile phone covers have been removed from a trade fair in Sydney, after a politician complained that they promoted drug use.

The organisers of the CeBIT technology fair decided to take action after New South Wales state Premier Bob Carr said that "anything that suggests the normalisation of a mind-altering drug like marijuana, and its promotion to young people, is regrettable".

Robert Punch, the owner of Corporate Phone Covers, said Mr Carr's comments were a "big over-reaction".

"I was a little bit surprised," he said. "It was supposed to be good fun."

He insisted that the phone covers were just a novelty item, and would not encourage people to try marijuana.

"You wouldn't go and buy a big block of chocolate after smelling the chocolate one," he told Reuters news agency.

Mr Punch said the phone covers had "high quality marijuana smoke" impregnated into their fabric.

They were part of a range of phone covers being sold at the fair - including ones that smell of chocolate, strawberry and cherry.

Mr Punch said he had already sold 1,500 marijuana-scented phone covers since he began importing them from China three months ago.

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