On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld a jury’s award of $10 million in punitive damages in a wrongful-death case against Philip Morris USA Inc. (“PM USA”), rejecting the tobacco company’s argument that such relief was precluded by the 1998 master settlement agreement between the Massachusetts Attorney General, PM USA, and other attorneys general and tobacco manufacturers.[1]

Continue Reading Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Affirms Punitive Damages Award Against Philip Morris USA Inc. In Spite of Master Settlement Agreement Release

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

Given the massive wave of medical and adult use marijuana laws being passed across the country, the average person may think there is no longer any debate as to whether marijuana has legitimate medical applications. On June 10, 2021, however the federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard argument on exactly that question. The case has potential to set important precedent not just for marijuana scheduling, but also other Schedule I substances being studied for their therapeutic potential.
Continue Reading 9th Circuit Hears a New Attempt at Forcing the DEA’s Hand on Marijuana Scheduling

On April 22, Senator Dick Durbin and others introduced the Tobacco Tax Equity Act of 2021 (S. 1314). The bill would establish a federal excise tax for electronic nicotine delivery systems (“ENDS”) and all other tobacco products that are not currently subject to federal tobacco products excise taxes. The bill would also double the tax rates for cigarettes and impose equivalent rates for most other tobacco products.
Continue Reading Senators Introduce Federal Legislation to Tax ENDS and Substantially Increase Taxes for Other Tobacco Products

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

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit will review a preliminary injunction against Philadelphia’s enforcement of an ordinance banning the sale of certain flavored tobacco products.

Will a preliminary injunction against Philadelphia’s flavored tobacco ban stand? The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit will have the opportunity to decide in Cigar Association of America, et al. v. City of Philadelphia, et al., No. 20-3519 (3d Cir.), appealed from, No. 2:20-cv-03220 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 13, 2020).
Continue Reading Philadelphia Appeals Preliminary Injunction Against Flavor Ban