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Christina brings years of experience representing clients in highly-regulated industries, such as tobacco and cannabis. She also provides unique insight into the challenges and opportunities of this exciting new marketplace.

Litigation challenging FDA’s cursory denial of thousands of premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs) continues. We have previously written about electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) manufacturers’ claims that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acted arbitrarily and capriciously by, among other things, denying their PMTAs without fully considering all elements of the applications. Numerous appeals of PMTA denials are pending before several different federal appellate courts, and decisions continue to trickle in.
Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Sets Aside FDA Marketing Denial Orders Issued to Bidi Vapor and Others

On July 28, the Iowa attorney general’s office filed suit against Philip Morris, USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., and 16 other tobacco companies, accusing them of defrauding Iowa of over $133 million by allegedly engaging in bad faith disputes over amounts due under the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA).

Tobacco company signatories to the MSA, also known as participating manufacturers (PMs), must pay the settling states their portion of $9 billion dollars on an annual basis. These payments are subject to a handful of various upward and downward adjustments, one of which is known as the “Non-Participating Manufacturer Adjustment” or “NPM Adjustment.” The NPM Adjustment may reduce the amount of money a state is due from the PMs in a given year if the state did not enact and “diligently enforce” an “escrow statute,” requiring non-participating manufacturers (NPMs) to place money in proportion to their sales made into that state into an escrow account.
Continue Reading Iowa Attorney General Brings Suit Against Participating Manufacturers to the Master Settlement Agreement

Retailers should take note that Philip Morris USA Inc., Altria Group, Inc, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company have reached an agreement with the United States Department of Justice on warnings to be placed in retail stores carrying the manufacturers’ cigarettes to warn consumers about the health effects of tobacco. These are referred to as “corrective-statement signs” because they are meant as “corrections” to the manufacturers’ alleged deliberate misleading of consumers as to the dangers of smoking from the 1950s until the early 2000s.
Continue Reading Cigarette Companies and Federal Government Reach Agreement on Warnings to be Displayed in Retail Stores

Governor Gavin Newsome recently signed California Assembly Bill 45 (AB 45) into law, which, among other things, allows hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) to be included in any food, beverages, and dietary supplements sold in California. This is not only a break from California’s prior position prohibiting CBD from being included in such products even as the State began to tax and regulate its cannabis industry, but it is also in stark contrast with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) current position on the issue.
Continue Reading California Passes CBD Law That Conflicts With FDA Guidance

It is widely known that trafficking in controlled substances is a crime under federal law. Traffickers and would-be traffickers be warned, however, that if you do choose to make income from trafficking in Schedule I or II controlled substances (including cannabis, cocaine, or psychedelic mushrooms), that income is fully taxable by the U.S. government. And, if you have employees helping you produce and sell federal Schedule I or II controlled substances (as many state-legal cannabis businesses do), you owe federal employment taxes as well.
Continue Reading IRS Launches Cannabis-Industry Focused Compliance Initiative

The term tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is most often associated with the delta-9 THC cannabinoid, which is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in both high-THC marijuana and low-THC hemp. Delta-9 THC is also the cannabinoid most often responsible for getting cannabis users “high” and is the cannabinoid that has been explicitly prohibited by the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
Continue Reading Delta-8’s 2018 Farm Bill Honeymoon May Be Slowly Coming to an End

We previously wrote about a hemp industry case against the Texas Department of State Health Services, challenging the state legislature’s smokable hemp ban and the Department’s implementing regulations. Plaintiffs, Texas hemp producers and retailers, argued that H.B. 1325, which banned the in-state manufacture of smokable hemp, but not the possession, consumption, or importation of smokable hemp from other states, was unconstitutional because it was not rationally related to any legitimate government interest (smokable hemp could still be sold and consumed in the state, just not produced by Texas hemp businesses).

Continue Reading Hemp Industry Victory in Texas: Court Finds Smokable Hemp Ban Unconstitutional

California’s cigarette tax and escrow requirements apply to inter-tribal sales of cigarettes, held the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Big Sandy Rancheria Enterprises v. Bonta. Big Sandy Rancheria Enterprises (“BSRE”), a federally-chartered corporation wholly-owned by the Big Sandy Rancheria Band of Western Mono Indians, brought the case to challenge California’s application of its tobacco directory, licensing, and tax laws to BSRE’s sales of native-manufactured cigarettes to other Indian tribes.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Holds That Inter-Tribal Cigarette Sales Are Subject to State Tobacco Laws

We previously blogged about two cases challenging the constitutionality of FDA’s “Deeming Rule,” the authority by which FDA extended its regulation of tobacco products to electronic nicotine delivery systems (“ENDS”).

Both of these cases, Big Time Vapes, Inc. v. FDA and Moose Jooce v. FDA recently hit a dead end when the Supreme Court denied both plaintiffs’ petitions for review.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Won’t Hear Latest ENDS Industry Challenges to FDA Regulation

Smokable hemp is one of the fastest growing submarkets of the hemp industry, but hemp growers and manufacturers in Texas may not be able to take advantage. A pair of cases in Texas district and appellate courts are trying to make sure that’s not the case.
Continue Reading Texas Courts Hear Oral Arguments Regarding State’s Smokable Hemp Ban