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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.

While it is always a good idea to focus on maintaining a healthy regulatory compliance program, the start of a new year seems like a particularly good time to review your tobacco company’s corporate hygiene with respect to state regulatory compliance. In this blog post, we provide a general overview of the state tobacco licensing and excise tax framework throughout the U.S. in a Q&A format. We also provide some general guidance about how to approach such laws and regulations. Tobacco companies, especially those operating in multiple states, should incorporate an appropriate state licensing and excise tax strategy into their compliance programs. Noncompliance with the myriad of state licensing and excise tax laws could have a significant impact on a tobacco company’s ability to operate and sell its products.
Continue Reading State Licensing and Excise Tax Considerations for Tobacco Companies

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

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

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan recently announced that his office settled violations of the state’s delivery sale law with three online electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) sellers. Since December 2020 and including these most recent settlements, the state has collected $472,500 from 13 companies for such violations, signaling the state’s growing desire to enforce this law against online ENDS sellers.

Continue Reading Vermont Settles with Online Retailers for Violations of Delivery Sale and Consumer Protection Laws

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