John Middleton Sues To Overturn Single-Sale Ban
John Middleton Co. joined other cigar companies in asking a Maryland circuit court to overturn a recently enacted Prince George’s law that bans the sale of single cigars. In its filing, the companies are asking the court to enjoin enforcement of the law and ultimately declare it invalid under state and federal law. The law is scheduled to take effect January 12, 2009.
The Prince George’s law is similar to legislation enacted last year by the City of Philadelphia that was struck down on state preemption grounds by Pennsylvania courts.
“We believe there are other more effective ways of advancing the general policy goals that motivated this law without penalizing adult cigar smokers who frequently purchase single cigars,” said Craig Schwartz, General Manager, John Middleton Co. “We are prepared to work with legislators at the state level to address these concerns,” added Schwartz.
John Middleton actively supports the enactment of youth access prevention legislation in Maryland that would impose a state-wide requirement that all tobacco products be merchandised in non-self-service locations, except in specialty tobacco retail establishments. The company also supports state-wide provisions to encourage retailers to train employees to identify and restrict minors from purchasing tobacco, and to impose penalties against an adult for providing or distributing tobacco products to a minor.
In the lawsuit, filed on December 24, 2008, John Middleton joins fellow manufacturers Altadis U.S.A., Inc., Swedish Match North America Inc., and Swisher International, Inc.; Maryland distributor Century Distributors, Inc.; and the Cigar Association of America, Inc.
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