Bogus Indiana vaping laws struck down in District Court
At long last, Indiana vape shops can breathe a collective sigh of relief as a portion of the state’s nonsensical vaping laws were finally deemed unconstitutional by the Southern District Court. The controversy began in May 2015 when current Trump Running Mate and Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed House Bill 1432 into law. The new legislation placed very rigid demands on both manufacturers and retailers of e-liquids, the most notorious of which was the requirement for the hiring of an independent security firm with very specific qualifications.
According to House Bill 1432, the security firm must employ at least one locksmith for at least one year who:
- Is certified by the Associated Locksmiths of America.
- Is certified as an Architectural Hardware Consultant with an additional certification from the Door and Hardware Institute.
- Is certified as a Rolling Steel Fire Door Technician from either the Institute of Door Dealer Education and Accreditation or the International Door Association.
- Has at least one year of experience in operating a security monitoring station with ownership controls.
- Has at least one year of experience in modifying commercial hollow metal doors, frames, and related lighting systems.
(Related Article: E-LIQUID RETAILER LICENSE REVOKED AMID INDIANA VAPING LAWS SCANDAL)
Understandably, the new criteria for a state-qualified security firm immediately raised more than a few eyebrows. What does a certification as an Architectural Hardware Consultant have to do with producing or selling e-juice?
Over 300 Indiana Vape Shops faced immediate bankruptcy
Even stranger still, as the July 1, 2016 deadline to implement the new regulations began to approach, over 300 Indiana vape shop owners quickly discovered that there was only one security firm in the entire state that fit all of these requirements. That firm is Mulhaupt’s of Lafayette, whose Vice President, Michael Gibson, just so happened to also be the new President-Elect of the very organization that issued the newly state-sanctioned Architectural Hardware Consultant certification.
Coincidentally, Mulhaupt’s was also charging a small fortune for their security services, which most local vape shops could not afford. That is, if the shop’s owner was fortunate enough to even receive a return phone call from the company in the first place.
But Judge Richard Young of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana saw right through all of this smoke and mirrors. On August 19, he ruled against the state of Indiana, citing that the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution prohibits any state from placing unfair burdens on interstate commerce. Judge Young granted a preliminary injunction that applies only to the plaintiff in this particular case, Florida-based e-liquid company GoodCat LLC.
However, many vaping advocacy groups view this ruling as a positive sign that the totality of the Indiana Vaping laws will be overturned in the very near future. While the ruling is considered a big win for the American vaping industry, it did not come quickly enough for more than a few Indiana vape shops who have already been forced to close their doors forever.