Roll-Your-Own Tobacco Stores May Cease To Exist Under New Law – Huffington Post

5 Jul

Roll-Your-Own Tobacco Stores May Cease To Exist Under New Law – Huffington Post

As members of Congress praised the transportation bill that passed last Friday, owners of some small tobacco shops cringed.

A measure sponsored by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and tucked inside the bill could spell the end for hundreds of “roll-your-own” tobacco stores that have sprouted up across the nation in recent years, shop owners and tobacco experts said.

The stores sell smokes at dramatically reduced prices by offering loose tobacco, which customers can convert into finished cigarettes using in-store machines, all for around half the cost of cigarettes from major brands like Marlboro.

The new federal law, set for President Obama’s signature, makes it harder for stores with roll-your-own cigarette machines to classify the tobacco they sell as pipe tobacco –- which is taxed at a lower rate than cigarette tobacco. It also forces the shops to obtain tobacco manufacturing permits, even though many only have retail zoning rights.

“This law is not designed for people to comply with,” said Phil Acordino, president of RYO Machines, which began manufacturing roll-your-own cigarette machines in 2008.

“It’s designed to put these people out of business,” he said. “They couldn’t get a manufacturer’s permit if they wanted to.”

Read the rest here.

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