Indiana’s vaping law that created a monopoly and placed severe restrictions on the manufacture of e-liquid is one step closer to being dismantled. The bill that aims to completely overhaul the law was passed by a state Senate committee on February 22.
From a legal standpoint, the Indiana vaping law inadvertently created a monopoly, which caused an FBI investigation to be launched last year. The law required that e-liquid manufacturers get approval from chosen security firms before being allowed to sell their products in Indiana. The problem was that the requirements for security firms to be chosen to give permits were so strict that only company made the grade. That company is Mulhaupt’s, Inc., which happens to be based in Indiana.
The FBI investigation into the possibility that a monopoly had been created rattled the supporters of the law enough to make them backtrack on it. But from the point of view of vaping and e-cigarette supporters, it was another example of overzealous caution about the safety of vaping products. In addition to Mulhaupt’s being the only firm that could pass the law’s requirements to be a permit issuer, only six e-liquid manufacturers were able to pass Mulhaupt’s requirements to get a permit.
The other legal problem with the law that caused it to be partially overturned by the 7th Circuit Court in January was that it extended its reach out of state to companies elsewhere, which was found to be a violation of the Constitution. But most of the law was left alone after that decision, so the effort to rework it, let by Republican state Senator Randy Head, continued.
Now Head’s bill will advance to the full Indiana Senate. Though business law is a large motivating factor in the wide support of the bill – it passed the Senate committee by a vote of 8-1 – Sen. Head has noted that the guidelines imposed by the law are unfair to e-liquid companies. In January he said that the requirements for e-liquid were beyond what is required for food and beverages. One of the requirements for e-liquid manufacturers is 24-hour-a-day video monitoring of facilities, which Head noted is not even required for fast food restaurants or coffee shops. The bill would change the law to lighten up on the stringent rules and make the State itself the issuer of permits.
The law as it was originally passed ended up forcing many Indiana vaping businesses out of state to sell their products. The original law was signed by then-Governor Mike Pence, who is now the Vice-President of the United States. The vaping community has expressed a belief that the Trump administration could be more amenable to fair vaping laws than the previous administration, under which the strict Food and Drug Administration guidelines for vaping products were passed. The Indiana effort to overhaul its vaping law comes at the same time as the effort to overhaul the FDA guidelines, which could also force many vaping companies out of business if they remain unchanged.