In a win for the Indiana electronic cigarette industry, the bill to overhaul the existing monopoly that one security firm held has successfully passed the Senate.
As this publication has previously reported, the Indiana e-cigarette law further restricted health and safety protocols within the state for vape companies, including safety measures that required approval by certain security firms in the state. In order to become eligible to be a consulting security firm, a list of requirements that had to be met; only one security firm, the Lafayette-based Mulhaupt’s, met those requirements, leading to a monopoly that essentially decimated the vape industry within Indiana.
The 2015 bill and the 2016 amendment that created the monopoly raised alarms with the FBI; the agency has since moved to open an investigation and has allegedly been in contact with the parties involved in creating, sponsoring, and passing the bill. The law also caught the ire of a federal appellate court located in Chicago, which last month struck down portions of the law.
As U.S. News reported earlier this week, Senator Randy Head’s measure was approved by a 49-1 vote and now advances to the House for debate and a vote on the floor. The current bill is a bipartisan effort, however, it is important to note that the same Republicans who sponsored the amendment that led to a monopoly also called for the new bill to be created.
Indiana is big business for the e-cigarette industry: it made $100 million alone in 2014, supports dozens of small businesses and hundreds of employees, and contributes to the state’s overall revenue with taxes that have been imposed on the products.
However, with the law that put the Mulhaupt’s in charge of the e-cigarette market, only six companies were certified to operate in the state; all other companies either shut down or moved their operations to Illinois. This also led consumers to buy their products online, cross state lines to visit a brick-and-mortar store or create their own juices with ingredients that can easily be obtained online or through wholesale markets.
WTHR is reporting that the law continues to keep in place the consumer safety regulations, such as child-proof caps and ingredient lists, but it strips away most of the safety protocols that were not necessary for e-cigarette liquid manufacturing.
Most vape activists feel confident that the bill will pass the House with little to no debate and expect the bill to land on the governor’s desk by mid-Spring. This publication will continue to keep readers updated on this issue until it has been resolved.