In 2009, the Maryland General Assembly passed and the Governor signed the following statewide and local bills related to tobacco tax regulation and enforcement.
Fire Safety Performance Standard for Cigarettes – Sale or Distribution for Consumer Testing Under Controlled Settings
House Bill 653 (Chapter 688, Acts of 2009) defines “sell” and “consumer testing” for determining applicability of the Fire Safety Performance Standard law. The definition of “sell” includes sample cigarettes, and cigarettes used for consumer testing. By changing the definition of “sell” to include cigarettes used for consumer testing, a manufacturer certification can be required for those cigarettes used in a non-controlled setting, such as random sampling of cigarettes sent to the public. This type of certification may be filed “confidential under seal” with respect to the cigarettes descriptors of brand, style, length, circumference, flavor, and package in order to protect proprietary information. EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2009.
Cigarette Business Licenses – Cigarette Manufacturers – Definitions and Scope of License
Senate Bill 1059 (Chapter 347, Acts of 2009) changes the definition of a manufacturer to include cigarette makers that have plants located outside of the United States, and those that sell cigarettes only to Maryland licensed wholesalers located outside of State boundaries. It allows all manufacturers to obtain a license to sell cigarettes in Maryland, and incorporates into the definition of manufacturer those “participating manufacturers” who are parties to the Master Settlement Agreement and defined as manufacturers under the MSA because of their status as the exclusive U.S. importer for foreign cigarette manufacturers. EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2009.
Tobacco Product Manufacturers – Settlement of State Claims – Nonparticipating Manufacturers – Deposit of Funds in Escrow – Codification of Model Statute
Senate Bill 12 (Chapter 12, Acts of 2009) codifies the Tobacco Product Manufacturers Escrow Act passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 1999. It makes no substantive change to Maryland law. The Escrow Act requires cigarette manufacturers that have not signed the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) to deposit certain monies in an escrow account to ensure that funds would be available if the State of Maryland were to sue them in the future. By requiring these payments, the Escrow Act levels the playing field between tobacco manufacturers that have signed the MSA and those that have not, and thereby promotes the public health provisions of the MSA. EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2009.
Cecil County – Tobacco Products – Distribution to Minors
House Bill 941 (Chapter 430, Acts of 2009) prohibits a person from distributing certain tobacco-containing and tobacco-related products to a minor in Cecil County. It establishes certain civil penalties, and authorizes only law enforcement officers to issue civil citations for violations. EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2009.