Published on February 23rd, 2017 | by Jimmy Hafrey
Indiana’s current vape law, which served as the catalyst for an FBI probe into the possible monopoly given to one company in the state, faces a legislative effort for an overhaul.
The measure, which was advanced by one of the state’s Senate Committee on Wednesday, could erase most of the 2016 law the enabled one security company in the state to have the final say of which vape companies could operate in Indiana. The former bill was created to strengthen safety standards in the manufacturing facilities used to create vape liquids.
But as Fox59 and Wane.com both reported this week, under the law only Maulhaupt’s Inc. met the necessary requirements of the security firm that vape companies needed to consult. The Lafayette-based business had approved just six vape companies to produce in the state, shutting down virtually the rest of the industry.
The Washington Times is reporting that all that could change under the bill that was brought to the Assembly by Randy Head, a Republican that represents Logansport. He spoke of the bill in a press conference, saying that: “Indiana had instituted a protectionist regime…that was something we set out from the beginning to try and get rid of.”
The Republicans had come out in favor of the new law, especially after the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago and struck down the majority of it, stating that it looked like a legislative grant that was created to give one company the advantage of a monopoly over other companies.
In 2015, Indiana passed a set of state regulations that were meant to create a safer vaping industry. It required manufacturers operating in the state to use safety caps, batch numbers, and place warning labels on all of its products. These are regulations that have been accepted by the vaping industry all over the country, so passing into law was not a source of controversy.
However, last year, the state legislature made changes to the law. Under the current law, state regulations made it impossible for a vape company to operate legally without having a state permit to manufacture vape liquids. To get the state permit, they would need to consult a security firm to ensure that they passed all the necessary requirements to operate.
The requirements were nearly impossible for companies to keep up with: sink details, outside security firms, video monitoring, as well as various certifications that only one company in the state could provide.
Currently, the only security firm that has the power to approve companies is Mulhaupt’s; the application for companies to seek approval had also passed before former Governor Mike Pence signed the bill into law.
“We had people who could do this safely and we told them ‘You’re not allowed to be in the business,’” Head said about the law and the amendments made to it.
By mid-summer last year, the FBI had opened an investigation and began interviewing a number of people connected to the creation of the bill, including Republican Senator Ron Alting, the representative who holds the district where Mulhaupt’s is located.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the security firm said that: “we respect the decision made by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
But while the overhaul, which is expected to come to a vote on the floor soon, is a good step in the right direction, the whole business of the law has frustrated the vape industry.
Chris Brown, the founder of the formerly Evansville-based Cool Breeze Vapor, stated as well as all the rest when he said that: ““This whole thing has pissed me off…you have to move your whole company to another state for no reason – just for other people to make a lot of money.”