Most Americans are aware of the fight surrounding the stimulus checks that were included as part of this legislation. Congress included $600 dollars for each qualifying American. Trump announced his refusal to sign the bill on December 22 in a twitter video, saying he wanted $2000 and some of the included spending rescinded or canceled.
The Omnibus is always a must pass bill to fund the non-essential portions of the government which usually includes a large number of pet projects and add-on laws that probably wouldn't have a chance of passing on their own. This year included a little section that had been getting talked about in the preceding months as a way to make e-cigarettes less accessible "for the youth".
This legislation will add huge regulatory hurdles, tax implications and paperwork headaches that are likely to force many online vape retailers to shut down or increase prices significantly.
The relevant portion of the bill can be found on page 5136 in the legislation posted on the house.gov (congress) website. Congress named the portion pertaining to vaping is TITLE VI—PREVENTING ONLINE SALES OF E-CIGARETTES TO CHILDREN, which of course was already against the law.
Greg Conley, President of the American Vaping Association, responded to the news on Twitter saying the following:
The government just made it more difficult and expensive for you to ship and receive vaping products.
Happy holidays, small business owners and adult consumers!
[cont'd saying a synopsis of the bill is as follows]
USPS ban, ID at delivery for every order, and if a customer lives in a state, Native reservation, or locality with a vapor tax, you need to submit a report of all your customers from that area monthly. And I believe the vendor is also responsible for paying the tax.
From the American Vaping Association:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Earlier today, the text of a 5,500+ page package of COVID-19 stimulus, government funding, and tax extenders was released by committees in the U.S. Congress. This comes just hours before members are expected to vote for the package to become law.
Buried in this massive bill is a provision (see page 5,136) that will harm public health and small businesses by, among other things, banning the United States Postal Service (USPS) from shipping vaping products to adult consumers. And due to sloppy drafting, the effects of the law will be felt beyond the world of nicotine.
The new law redefines the word “cigarette” under the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT Act), which is part of the federal Jenkins Act, to include “electronic nicotine delivery systems.” Despite the inclusion of the word “nicotine,” the definition used in the bill is so broad that it appears to capture vaping liquids containing CBD and standalone devices intended for vaping THC or other substances.
By including vaping products within the PACT Act, manufacturers and retailers will be banned from shipping vaping products to adult consumers using the USPS within the next 120 days. All orders of vaping products will be required to ship using an alternate, considerably more expensive service that verifies the recipient of a package is at least 21 years old. Furthermore, starting 90 days after enactment, all Internet and mail-order retailers will be required to file voluminous monthly reports with State, Native tribes, and local governments disclosing the identity, address, and product orders of all customer orders to their jurisdiction, as well as remit any excise taxes owed.
Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, commented on the bill’s likely passage:
“While there is no shortage of talk in Congress about the importance of small businesses and social distancing, the decision to shove this ban in the middle of a pandemic relief package reveals how hollow that rhetoric is. Many Americans at risk of COVID-19 complications have been staying home and ordering their supplies online, but Congress just decided they should either pay much more for shipping or go to a retail store that may not stock the product they use to stay off deadly cigarettes.”
“If the increase in shipping costs wasn’t enough, the bill also imposes huge paperwork burdens on small retailers, and backs it up with threats of imprisonment for even innocent mistakes. This is not a law designed to regulate the mail-order sale of vaping products to adults; it’s an attempt to eliminate it.
“The sponsors of this legislation repeatedly refused to consider common sense amendments that would have protected youth, while also not needlessly shutting down small businesses. Thanks to their intransigence, the language included in the omnibus is so sloppily drafted that it will also ban the USPS from shipping CBD liquids intended to be vaporized, as well as devices intended for use with THC or other non-nicotine substances.”
“There are still 36 million American adults smoking combustible cigarettes and over 400,000 will die from smoking-related illnesses this year alone. The American people should start questioning why their government is so intent on making it harder for adults to quit smoking.”
The legal language in the bill, as highlighted by Mr. Conley, will hit all more targets than just online vape businesses, e-cigarettes and nicotine based vape juice, but CBD vape juice and herb vaporizer devices as well.