With members of the cigar industry gathering in Las Vegas, Nev. for the IPCPR Convention and Trade Show, Cigar Rights of America made a pre-show announcement that is has launched the formation of the National Cigar Policy Center.
The venture is being done in collaboration with Tobacconist University and is designed to be a comprehensive library of legislation that has been filed at the local and state level that can advance the interests of premium cigar manufacturers, retail tobacconists and consumers.
“For some time, we have been collecting model bills that can advance the legislative agenda of premium cigar interests; there is now a body of legislation that can serve the industry nationwide, by simply sharing this information,” said Glynn Loope, CRA’s executive director via a press release. The hope is that the site can help to share experiences among states, whether it be taxes, regulatory issues or smoking bans.
The site has launched with an immediate collection of fourteen pieces of legislation that were filed in ten states, including: Washington, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maine, New Hampshire, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia and Oregon. They address such issues as smoking regulations, taxes, cigar definition, and ordinances for the establishment of cigar bars and lounges.
Tobacconist University President Jorge Armenteros noted that “professional tobacconists, especially at this moment in the history of the industry, have to be aware and engaged in public policy and the legislative process, and know how it affects their business. The National Cigar Policy Center is another tool that retail tobacconists, consumers and even manufacturers can turn to for possible answers to problems in a given state or locality. The legislative library will be built over time, so that we can amass a great collection of model legislation that can advance the interests of premium cigars across America.”
The National Cigar Policy Center will have an advisory group of sitting and former legislators from across the country that can serve as a resource for advancing legislation that is beneficial to the premium cigar industry, from the manufacturer to the consumer.
The group has already tapped the experience of former Virginia State Senator Marty Williams, who served in the Senate of Virginia from 1996-2008, and prior to that served on the City Council and as Vice Mayor of Newport News, Virginia.
Williams stated, “It’s clearly time to take a more proactive role in the political process, if you have a passion for great cigars, or a business interest in protecting the industry. I hope we can help advance an agenda that seeks to use model legislation from around the country to benefit the simple enjoyment of a cigar. One thing is for sure in my legislative record. I never voted for a smoking ban. That’s why I want to assist with this project.”
A dedicated web page has been created for National Cigar Policy Center, which contains additional information.