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Nicholas (Nick) Ramos draws on years of military leadership, project management, and legal experience to help clients solve difficult business problems from a legal perspective. He assists clients in navigating regulatory compliance issues, complex enforcement actions, and licensing that arise under both state and federal law.

On June 11, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) withdrew an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) for premium cigars issued in March 2018 as part of the Spring 2021 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, which is published twice a year. Nevertheless, FDA commissioned a study to obtain information similar to what it sought in the ANPRM. The study is scheduled to be complete in Spring 2022. Thus, there is still a chance FDA takes a modified approach with respect to premium cigars in the future.
Continue Reading FDA Withdraws Notice of Proposed Rulemaking For Premium Cigars

In Global Hookah Distribs. v. Florida, No. 1D20-822 (Apr. 12, 2021), a case before the First District Court of Appeal of Florida, Global Hookah Distributors (Global) unsuccessfully sought a refund of tobacco excise taxes it paid to the State of Florida. Global’s argument rested principally on its lack of a substantial “nexus” with the State.
Continue Reading Florida Court Finds Nonresident Tobacco Distributor On the Hook For Excise Taxes Regardless of Physical Presence

On April 29, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it will issue proposed tobacco product standards within the next year that will effectively ban menthol cigarettes and characterizing flavors in cigars. Once FDA issues proposed tobacco product standards, it will need to go through the notice and comment rulemaking process (and possibly litigation), so it could take several years before FDA implements any new standards.


Continue Reading FDA Proposes to Ban Menthol Cigarettes and Characterizing Flavors in Cigars

In late February, we blogged about legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly legalizing recreational marijuana.  On March 31, 2021, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam submitted a substitute bill to the Senate for consideration. See https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?212+sum+SB1406. The General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene Special Session I on April 7th, when it will consider the Governor’s marijuana proposal.
Continue Reading Virginia Governor Pushes for Additional Changes to Marijuana Legislation Passed by the General Assembly

In January, we reported that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued its final rule establishing a domestic hemp production program, publishing it days before President Biden was inaugurated. The new Administration then instituted a “regulatory freeze pending review” with respect to published rules not yet in effect.

In a USDA Agricultural Marketing Service

Last year, voters in Montana, Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota and Mississippi approved ballot measures to legalize marijuana in their states. It appears Virginia will continue this state legalization trend in 2021. In a historic vote last Friday, February 5, 2021, the Virginia General Assembly passed two bills (one in the House and one in the Senate) that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the Commonwealth. There are some key differences in the two bills that will need to be reconciled before heading to Governor Ralph Northam’s desk before signature, who has indicated his support for such legislation. If signed into law, the legislation would make Virginia the 16th state in the country to legalize recreational use. Below is a summary of some of the key similarities and differences between the two bills.
Continue Reading Virginia Set to Become the 16th State to Legalize the Recreational Use of Marijuana

Earlier this month, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) provided public notice that it plans to amend regulations governing Proposition 65 (Prop 65) short-form warning labels. OEHHA offered to hold a public hearing, upon request, which would need to be received by February 22, 2021 and it requested public comments on the proposed amendments by March 8, 2021. While these changes only apply to products sold in California, many companies take a broad approach to applying these labels to many, if not all, of their products sold in the US because of the size of the California tobacco consumer market. Therefore, these changes could have far reaching effects for any tobacco-related businesses that sell tobacco products in California or broadly use Prop 65 warnings.
Continue Reading California Considers Modifying Prop 65 Warning Requirements

In November 2019, we reported that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued an interim final rule establishing a domestic hemp production program that was intended to go into effect for two years before being replaced by a final rule. On January 19, 2021, USDA published that final rule after considering nearly 5,900 public comments and incorporating lessons learned from the 2020 growing season. While the final rule focuses on industrial hemp production, not processed hemp products (such as CBD derived from hemp), it may be particularly important to those who wish to exercise due diligence on their agricultural supply chains. It will be effective March 22, 2021, unless the new Administration changes the timeline.
Continue Reading USDA Finalizes Rule to Establish Domestic Hemp Production Program

As many in the tobacco industry know, there is a growing trend among state and local governments to prohibit or restrict the sale of flavored tobacco or nicotine products. Some governments are focusing on narrow subsets of flavored tobacco or nicotine products, like vapor products or electronic cigarettes, while others are intent on a broader prohibition or restriction that might include more traditional products like cigarettes, cigars, or smokeless tobacco. At the state level, Attorneys General have been at the forefront of the ensuing legal battles over this type of legislation.
Continue Reading California Attorney General Continues Fight to Ban Flavored Tobacco Products

By Troutman Pepper Tobacco Practice, Bryan Haynes, Agustin Rodriguez, & Nicholas Ramos on October 22, 2020

Online businesses selling electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) to consumers must contend with a “patchwork quilt” of state laws. This patchwork of laws creates significant regulatory uncertainty and risk for businesses selling online in this space. There are many