On January 26, the Food and Drug Administration essentially threw up its hands and announced that Congress needs to create a new regulatory pathway for cannabidiol (CBD) products because the existing pathways are inadequate to mitigate possible health risks. The agency simultaneously denied three long-pending requests to allow marketing of CBD products as dietary supplements. The move came as a major setback to industry stakeholders that have waited years for clear guidelines on CBD from FDA.

Continue Reading FDA Won’t Use Its Existing Authority to Regulate CBD After All

The Oregon Legislature’s 2023 regular session kicked off with a bang for the tobacco industry when House Bill 2128 (HB2128) was introduced at the request of Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum who also happens to the be president-elect of the National Association of Attorneys General. If passed, HB2128 would replace Oregon’s escrow deposit system, applicable to tobacco product manufacturers that are nonparticipating manufacturers (NPMs) under the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), with an equity assessment. While HB2128 was only recently introduced and has a number of hurdles to overcome before it becomes law, we are not aware of any other state that has made a similar proposal to retroactively change escrow deposit systems for NPMs. Thus, HB2128 is worth monitoring, not only for its potential impact to Oregon NPMs, but also to see whether similar legislation will be introduced in other states.

Continue Reading Oregon Bill Proposes to Replace Escrow Deposit System With “Equity Assessment” for Certain Tobacco Product Manufacturers

The Reagan-Udall Foundation, an independent nonprofit created by Congress “to advance the mission of the FDA to modernize medical, veterinary, food, food ingredient, and cosmetic product development, accelerate innovation, and enhance product safety” recently released its report Operational Evaluation of Certain Components of FDA’s Tobacco Program. The report was commissioned by FDA Commissioner Robert Califf in July, 2022 amid ongoing controversy over the agency’s handling of premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs) for electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and a lack of enforcement against unlawful ENDS.

Continue Reading Reagan-Udall Foundation Recommends Improvements to the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products

In October 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ), on its behalf, filed complaints against six electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) companies in federal district courts, seeking permanent injunctions. These cases are important because they mark the first time the FDA has litigated against companies to enforce the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act’s premarket review requirements for new tobacco products.

Continue Reading FDA Implements More Aggressive Approach to Enforcement of ENDS Premarket Requirements

The Senate recently passed the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act (the Act) by a voice vote after the House of Representatives passed the bill with strong bipartisan support (325-95) last July. The Act is the first stand-alone marijuana legislation passed in decades and, according to some news sources, President Biden will likely sign it within the next two weeks. Historically, conducting research with Schedule I controlled substances has been subject to numerous administrative hurdles and onerous security requirements that have deterred many potential researchers. The Act amends key sections of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to ease some of those restrictions and to facilitate research on marijuana and its potential therapeutic benefits, without changing marijuana’s designation as a Schedule I controlled substance. Some of the key provisions are summarized below.

Continue Reading Bipartisan Marijuana Research Bill Heads to Biden’s Desk

California voters have approved Senate Bill 793, which prohibits tobacco retailers from selling flavored tobacco products or tobacco product flavor enhancers. A lawsuit has been filed in federal court claiming that it is unconstitutional.

On November 8, 2022, California voters said “yes” to Proposition 31, a referendum on a 2020 law that would prohibit the retail sale of certain flavored tobacco products. The constitutionality of the referenced law, Senate Bill 793 (“SB793”), is at issue in a case filed the next day in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. Bonta, et al., No. 3:22-cv-01755 (S.D. Cal.); however, the plaintiffs’ success in that case will likely depend on the development of favorable precedents in other cases pending before appellate courts.

Continue Reading California Voters Approve Flavored Tobacco Ban in Referendum; Is It Unconstitutional?

On November 3, Judge Gary L. Sharpe of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York issued a preliminary injunction, blocking cannabis regulators from issuing marijuana retail licenses for five geographic regions across the state, while a constitutional challenge to the program proceeds.

Continue Reading Federal Judge Finds NY Cannabis Residency Rules Likely Unconstitutional and Discriminatory Against Out-of-State Applicants

Dealing in goods subject to cigarette and other tobacco products (OTP) taxes presents considerable administrative burdens. The sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products, on which all 50 states impose an excise tax, requires accurate bookkeeping, regular reporting, and tax remittance practices. In addition, manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers of these highly-regulated products will be the subject of audits by state revenue departments.

Continue Reading Practical Tips for Avoiding and Contesting Tobacco Tax Assessments

Over the past few years, at least five states and several hundred localities have passed, or attempted to pass, laws banning flavored tobacco products. There have been a number of challenges to those laws—few of which have been successful. In a recent ruling, the Washington County Circuit Court handed a win to businesses challenging a local ordinance (the Ordinance) seeking to impose a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products.

Continue Reading Oregon Court Sides with Businesses Challenging Local Flavor Ban Ordinance

House Representatives Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY) recently sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf expressing “continued concerns involving systemic problems within the” Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). The first half of the letter asks FDA to explain its continued failure to issue meaningful regulations for CBD products, while the second half focuses on issues within CTP that have been echoed across the tobacco industry.

Continue Reading House Representatives Ask FDA to Explain its Handling of PMTAs and Other Issues Within Center for Tobacco Products