A federal appeals court struck down part of Indiana's vaping law regulating out-of-state production and sale of e-liquids used in vaping.
Everyone in the Vape game has been watching the story unfold as new laws are coming into action all over the Country. A major victory for anyone pro Vaping has just been won in Indiana. One that might influence our ability to create change here in California.
Evan McMahon, chairman of the advocacy group in Indiana, Hoosier Vapers, said he felt vindicated by the ruling.
"This is definitely a victory," he said. "It reaffirms ... everything we've been saying."
In a decision issued today by a three-judge panel from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge David Hamilton wrote:
"The Act is written so as to have 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 vaping law, enacted in 2015 and amended last year, has been a focus of controversy since it went into effect over the summer, driving dozens of vaping businesses out of the state and increasing the cost of e-liquid, very similar to what is about to happen in California.
The ruling comes as Indiana state lawmakers are considering legislation to "fix" the law that has generated several lawsuits by manufacturers of the materials used in e-juice.
"The e-vapor industry is thrilled with today’s ruling, and looks forward to working cooperatively with the Indiana Legislature now and in the future in crafting meaningful regulations within the framework of the ruling," said Louisville attorney J. Gregory Troutman, who represented Legato Vapors, LLC, in the lawsuit.
"This is a case which the entire e-vapor industry has closely watched because a vast majority of e-liquid production occurs outside Indiana’s borders. E-liquid manufacturers have always been concerned that Indiana’s regulatory model could be replicated in other states in such a way that created a network of regulations which would strangle the industry."
Sandy Brown, owner of Cool Breeze Vapors, a vape company directly impact by the Indiana Law, said the appeals court ruling is a step in the right direction. She said her company had to abandon a 5,000-square-foot e-liquid plant in Evansville when the new law went into effect, relocating across the Ohio River to Henderson, Ky.
The sharp increase in e-liquid prices also forced the company to shut down two of it's brick and mortar vapor shops in Indianapolis.
The appeals court order overturns a June federal district court ruling that dismissed a challenge to the law by three out-of-state manufacturers.
The Indiana attorney general had argued in the appeal that the law was not flawed. A spokesman said the attorney general "will review the court’s ruling with our state government client and decide on the next steps by the appropriate court deadlines."
This entire court process has set a precedence that perhaps California can follow up on. An appeal to a higher court attempting to loosen the harsh grip and business threatening laws of California, is now not so far fetched. The coming weeks are as uncertain as the wind with new regulations set to hit the industry soon. We here at Vaping Industries will be following these events closely and will do our best to keep everyone in the game informed.