When Florida-based e-liquid manufacturer GoldCat LLC filed a lawsuit questioning the legality of the Indiana vaping laws, no one could have anticipated the aftermath leading to a criminal investigation by the FBI. Strangely, GoldCat is not the focus of the investigation, but rather the Indiana vaping laws themselves. On August 19, Judge Richard Young of the Southern District Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff citing a possible violation of the U.S. Constitution’s fair practices for interstate commerce. And that’s all it took to set the wheels in motion for a thorough examination by the nation’s most powerful law enforcement agency.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller issues warning
In last Monday’s post, a detailed list of the new Indiana vaping laws was outlined. The basis of the controversy stems from the fact that all Indiana e-liquid suppliers must now hire a security firm with a long list of seemingly outrageous credentials. Unfortunately, only one such firm exists in the entire state, Mulhaupt’s of Lafayette. When Judge Young handed down his ruling in favor of GoldCat LLC last week, vape shop owners around the state began to cheer. But Attorney General Greg Zoeller, who favors the Indiana vaping laws in their current state, warns all retailers that the ruling only applies to GoldCat LLC and no one else.
“The state contends that decisions about how to regulate the businesses that manufacture the chemicals used in e-cigarettes ought to be made by the people’s elected representatives in the legislature — and if this current statute is found to be inadequate, then legislators should consider revising the law next session…From a public health standpoint, we maintain that Indiana should maintain the ability to regulate these chemicals and devices within its borders.”
So, it appears as if Zoeller and his constituents are not giving up without a fight, whether the FBI chooses to investigate or not. Another key politician who also helped pass the newly released Indiana vape laws also expressed concern. In a recent statement to the IndyStar, Senator Ron Alting indicated that he has not yet been contacted by the FBI and is unsure if he ever will be.
“I have not been involved in any of that nor do I anticipate I would,” Alting said. “I am kind of shocked. I know nothing about this. I’m kind of shocked by it. I honestly don’t think there is anything there. I don’t know what it would be.”
Even though an FBI investigation is pending, vape shop owners are cautioned that the Indiana vaping laws are still in effect. This puts the over 300 manufacturers of e-liquid throughout the state at a considerable disadvantage. With only one security firm for hire, how can all 300 retailers possibly comply? How can Mulhaupt’s possibly service all of those vape shops in a timely manner? To date, only seven e-liquid producers have been granted the proper certification to sell their merchandise statewide, shutting out dozens more in the process.