My wife works for a Maryland Senator and she rec'd this email asking for co-sponsorship for a new pipe tobacco/cigar bill. I'm not exactly sure how this works but I can't imagine this is a good thing. I don't think any tobacco retailer will want to pay a fee and register in order to ship tobacco to a Maryland resident. Apparently we have a similar law in place for wine vendors, but I really can't imagine they are lining up to do this either. Maryland is already the 10th highest state for OTP tax at 30% for pipe tobacco. I'm going to call the sponsoring Senator this week to voice my displeasure and get some more information.
I am writing to ask you to consider co-sponsoring a bill I am introducing entitled Pipe Tobacco and Premium Cigars – Direct Sale and Shipment to Consumers. This bill would establish a method of shipping pipe tobacco and premium cigars to Maryland consumers in a manner similar to direct wine shipment.
Under the bill, a direct tobacco shipper’s permit would be established for persons seeking to ship pipe tobacco or premium cigars directly to a consumer in the state, which would be issued at the discretion of the Office of the Comptroller. An applicant for a direct tobacco shipper’s permit would submit both an application and a fee as set by the Comptroller. The Comptroller would then issue a one-year direct tobacco shipper’s permit to each qualified applicant, allowing the holder to sell and ship pipe tobacco or premium cigars to consumers in the state either by electronic or other means of order.
Additionally, a direct tobacco shipper is required to follow specific labeling requirements for the shipment, report related data to the Comptroller on a quarterly basis, pay tobacco taxes on due sales sold to Maryland consumers, allow for an audit by the Comptroller upon request, and consent to the jurisdiction of the Comptroller or other state unit where enforcement of existing law is in question.
Lastly, this legislation establishes the means by which a direct tobacco shipper may renew their license and specifies a minimum age of 18 in order to purchase tobacco products by means of shipment.
I urge my fellow Senators to co-sponsor this important legislation. For more information concerning the bill or to sign on as a co-sponsor, please contact John Olderman in my office at x3137 or firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, February 1.
Richard S. Madaleno, Jr.
203 James Senate Office Building
11 Bladen Street
Annapolis, Maryland 21401