The days of click-and-order cigar purchases could come to an end in Hawaii, as a bill introduced into the state’s senate on Friday would make it unlawful to ship tobacco products to anyone other than a holder of a tobacco wholesaler, distributor or retail license.
S.B. 2654 is a follow-up to a similar bill, H.B. 1495, that was introduced in the state’s House of Representatives last session. While it was approved with amendments by the House Committee on Health, it was never heard by the House Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce.
The bill, which was introduced by four co-sponsors with an additional six supporters, also adds e-liquid to the definition of “tobacco products”, which would make all provisions of the cigarette tax and tobacco tax law that relate to tobacco products applicable to e-liquid as well. The license fee for wholesalers or dealers and the retail tobacco permit fee would also increase; for retailers it would go from $20 to $50 per year, while the license for a wholesaler or dealer would go from $2.50 to $250.
While neither have issued a statement on the bill yet, both the Hawaii Cigar Association and the Cigar Association of America opposed the bill that was introduced in 2017.
The bill has not yet been referred to a committee. Should it pass through the legislative process, the ban would go into effect on July 1, 2018, with violators subject to being charged with a misdemeanor.