Two major events affecting the vaping community occurred this week. The first was a ruling by the New York Court of Appeals claiming that vaping is NOT smoking, according to the state’s Clean Air Act. The second was the passing of six pieces of new anti-vaping legislation by the California State Assembly, rushed through a ratification process that took less than 48-hours. Why would two, very different legal actions taking place on opposite ends of the United States be viewed as fatal to vape shop owners, distributors, and wholesalers across the entire country? Many fear that this is just the beginning of the end.
It’s all about “power.”
When the New York political conglomerate first heard the ruling regarding the case of The People vs. Thomas, many were outraged. After years of fighting to both pass and enforce the highly controversy Clean Air Act, a single judge seemingly hands down a ruling that essentially makes state legislators look rather foolish. “Vaping is not smoking,” says the judge. So, police officers should not have arrested poor Mr. Thomas as he sat quietly vaping on a subway platform in Brooklyn. With the case essentially dismissed by the New York Court of Appeals, the nationwide vaping community secretly gave themselves a pat on the back for finally winning a battle. But winning the battle does not mean that we have won the war.
California takes action! Is New York pissed?
Just this Friday, March 4, 2016, the California State Assembly made the announcement that the raising of the legal smoking age to 21 is almost certain. About the only thing left to do is to get Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the bill. While this new age limit is getting the majority of the headlines, the other five newly passed pieces of legislation were initially going almost unnoticed by the vaping community…until now.
One of the other troublesome bills that the California Congress secretly pushed through within 48-hours officially classifies of all e-cigs and vaping devices that contain nicotine at any level as “tobacco products.” In this single legal action, vaping technology and Marlboro cigarettes are now considered the very same form of deadly product.
Meanwhile, another bill passed that same day raises the annual licensing fees from $100 to $256 per location for all retailers of the very same “tobacco products.” Meanwhile, the annual fees for wholesalers and distributors soared to $1,200. What does this mean to the California Vape Shop Owner? Now, you have to pay a $256 fee just to open your door. And now that the FDA has its proverbial foot inside that very same door, expect even more financial ramifications in the very near future.
Look out New Yorkers! You’re likely the next target. Now that Albany sees the devious methods used to pass anti-vaping legislation by the California State Assembly, your state government isn’t going to take the ruling of a single judge lightly. Everyone knows that New Yorkers love a good fight, and California just made winning look very easy! And when New York and California fall, the rest of the country’s vape shop owners are ripe for the picking, one state at a time.