A Home invoice heard in committee this week would restrict native management on different nicotine and vapor merchandise, retroactively canceling Missoula’s flavored vape ban handed by the Missoula Metropolis Council final November.
House Bill 137, sponsored by Rep. Ron Marshall, R-Hamilton, goals to amend the State of Montana’s Youth Entry to Tobacco Act by clarifying that different nicotine merchandise are separate from tobacco merchandise.
It might additionally forestall and cease any regulation on nicotine and vapor merchandise by native governments, well being boards and the Montana Division of Public Well being and Human Providers – an company that attempted to eliminate the sale of flavored e-cigarettes final summer season.
“It must be addressed,” stated Marshall, who was a part of a commerce affiliation who unsuccessfully sued over former Gov. Steve Bullock’s 120-day flavored e-cigarettes ban as co-owner of Freedom Vapes in Belgrade, Bozeman and Hamilton.
“There’s quite a lot of holes, and 56 counties in Montana means 56 completely different units of guidelines. Every little thing ought to undergo the legislative physique on the subject of legislation. It’s simply a kind of issues the place all people must be on the identical web page, and we have to have a transparent definition of what these merchandise are.”
Marshall stated that HB137 has been coming for a very long time, and with COVID-19, legal guidelines proscribing different nicotine merchandise trigger substantial injury to a retailer’s income earnings.
“Proper now, with the local weather on the market with COVID and misplaced jobs and companies and all that, arising with one other try and shut down extra enterprise or curtail extra enterprise is the fallacious reply,” Marshall stated. “You’re not solely doing that, however you’re additionally taking away income. And that’s income that not solely goes to the cities and counties, however to the state. Let’s again up and have a look at the massive image.”
When the Missoula Metropolis Council was discussing its flavored vape ban, Metropolis Lawyer Jim Nugent stated it might likely face a lawsuit because it was written on the time. Council members made modifications to the ordinance to strengthen it in opposition to any authorized problem.
The town’s flavored vape ban will go into impact on Jan. 25, and Missoula County might use its extraterritorial powers to increase the ordinance 5 miles past metropolis limits.
Nugent stated the town hasn’t confronted a lawsuit concerning the ordinance, and with the ultimate part of HB137 stating that the invoice would apply retroactively, the town seemingly received’t face a lawsuit. Nugent stated the retroactive portion of the invoice is aimed toward Missoula.
“As a substitute of a lawsuit, it’s now being challenged by way of the Legislature,” Nugent stated.
Council member Gwen Jones, one of many 5 sponsors of the ordinance, stated in a press release to the Missoula Present that she hopes the legislature lets the ordinance stand.
“[. . .] tobacco use amongst youth had reached low ranges within the final couple of a long time, after years and years of tobacco training and work by advocates,” Jones stated. “Then within the final decade, as flavored tobacco in vaping merchandise took maintain as a brand new product, youth tobacco use by way of vaping merchandise has once more skyrocketed.
“Our ordinance makes it more durable for Missoula youth to acquire this product, and that’s the backside line. Missoula youth shouldn’t be getting hooked on nicotine merchandise. As a neighborhood, we have to do what we are able to to forestall this.”
Council member Jesse Ramos was one of many 4 council members who voted in opposition to the ban. He lauded the Legislature’s proposed motion in opposition to the ordinance.
“I feel it’s vital to know what the function of presidency is, and the function of presidency is basically to be a referee and to be a participant within the sport,” Ramos stated. “Individuals assume that the federal government can simply repair all the pieces in a ban, however these things has to return from the house, it has to return from social circles, it has to return from academics, those that the scholars maintain in excessive regard, not simply making one thing unlawful in Missoula.”
Marshall can be a sponsor of House Bill 105, which bolsters punishments for promoting and or giving tobacco merchandise, different nicotine merchandise or vapor merchandise to kids. He stated that alongside HB137, the payments go “hand-in-hand.”
“There are legal guidelines that must be put in place and we’re engaged on that in addition to making an attempt to maintain it away from kids,” Marshall stated. “Reduce the supply. The provision supply typically is the place children are getting maintain of these things and so they shouldn’t be getting a maintain of it.”