The weeks got off to a good start for vaping enthusiasts and vendors in the American state of Indiana. Sparked by an FBI investigation, a federal court has struck down a major portion of the state’s restrictive vaping laws.
On Monday, a three judge-panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled the unusually strict requirements concerning e-liquid production were unjust.
Judge David Hamilton stated:
“The Act is written so as to have an extraterritorial reach that is unprecedented, imposing detailed requirements of Indiana law on out-of-state manufacturing operations. The Act regulates the design and operation of out-of-state production facilities, including requirements for sinks, cleaning products, and even the details of contracts with outside security firms and the qualifications of those firms’ personnel. Imposing these Indiana laws on out-of-state manufacturers violates the dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.”
The Indiana vaping laws came into force in 2015. Most of the controversy concerns the amendments made last year, that inflated the cost of e-liquid and drove dozens of vaping business out of the state.
The amendments to the Indiana vaping laws stated all e-liquid manufacturers would need a certificate of approval from the Lafayette-based security company Mulhaupt’s Inc. The company only provided certificates to six manufacturers. The company had a total monopoly when it came to dishing out the certificates, so their word was the law.
The vaping laws in Indiana were so unusual the FBI looked into how the law was passed. At least two of the lawmakers who approved the legislation went on to land jobs in the industry.
The appeals court stated Mulhaupt’s Inc’s requirements were “astoundingly specific” and pointed out “only one company in the entire United States, located not so coincidentally in Indiana, satisfied the legal criteria”.
The court also stated the circumstances raised “obvious concerns” and looked “very much like a legislative grant of a monopoly to one favoured in-state company in the security business”.
Evan McMahon, chairman of the advocacy group Hoosier Vapers, was overjoyed by the ruling.
“This is definitely a victory,” he said.
The Indiana state senate committee is expected to vote Wednesday on a proposed fix.