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Judge says: Indiana vaping laws are ‘remarkably specific’ and unconstitutional

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently overturned a previous ruling regarding the Indiana vaping laws, labeling parts of the legislation as “remarkably specific” and unconstitutional.  The collection of laws governs the manufacture and sale of vape technology and e-liquids within the state.  Related regulations involve the requirement for retailers to hire an outside security firm with a long list of credentials that many consider legislative overreach.

The security firm must employ at least one locksmith for at least 12-months who has certifications by the following organizations:

      • Associated Locksmiths of America
      • Architectural Hardware Consultant
      • Door and Hardware Institute
      • Rolling Steel Fire Door Technician certifications from either the Institute of Door Dealer Education and Accreditation or the International Door Association.
      • At least 12-months of experience in operating a security monitoring station with ownership controls
      • At least 12-months of experience in modifying commercial hollow metal doors, frames, and related lighting systems

According to the three-judge panel, District Court Judge Sarah Evans Parker of the lower court got it wrong when she dismissed the lawsuit last year between plaintiffs Legato Vapors LLC and the Right to Be Smoke-Free Coalition against defendant David Cook.


As cited in the written ruling in case #15-00761, it is unconstitutional for Indiana to impose manufacturing standards on retailers from outside of the state.  To be clear, e-liquid manufacturers located within the state of Indiana are still victim to the controversial vaping laws.  However, most vape shops in the state still view the ruling as a major, of only partial, victory.

 'Remarkably specific' and unconstitutional

According to Judge David Hamilton who wrote the legal response, Indiana does not have the legal authority to regulate commerce and industry in other states.

“Imposing these Indiana laws on out-of-state manufacturers violates the dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.”
“The federal Constitution leaves Indiana ample authority to regulate in-state commerce in vapor pens, e-liquids, and ecigarettes to protect the health and safety of its residents….Indiana may not, however, try to achieve those health and safety goals by directly regulating out-of-state factories and commercial transactions. As applied to out-of-state manufacturers, the challenged provisions of the Act violate the dormant Commerce Clause prohibition against extraterritorial legislation.”

Even though the three-judge panel did not overturn the Indiana vaping laws in total, they did make sure to publicly scold the portions that remain intact.  In the written ruling, Judge Hamilton refers to certain areas of the legislation that "only one company in the entire United States, located not so coincidentally in Indiana," is successful in meeting.

“These circumstances raise obvious concerns about protectionist purposes and what looks very much like a legislative grant of a monopoly to one favored in-state company in the security business.”

Lafayette-based Mulhaupt's Inc. is the single Indiana security firm that allegedly benefits from this “monopoly.”  Issues over the Indiana vaping laws came to light last May when e-liquid manufacturers were complaining of having difficulties getting calls returned from the company.  In attempting to locate an alternative security firm with the required credentials, it was soon discovered that only Mulhaupt's fit the bill.

Of the numerous applications filed across the country, Mulhaupt's only approved a total of six, forcing many vape shops to close and others to reorganize temporarily in the hopes that the Indiana vaping laws would soon be overturned. 




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