Legislative Update & Call to Action.
As many of you may be aware, amended versions of SB810 (2nd committee) and SB1394 (1st committee) passed through the Innovations, Technology and Industry Committee on Monday (2/3/20). This is not what we like to see, but we need to look at the whole picture.
Your calls, emails and social media actions worked.
On Monday morning, several hours before the committee meeting, both bills had late filed amendments trimming them down dramatically. We were able to get the 60% surcharge and 25% tax removed from SB1394 last minute which was huge. We believe these amendments were a direct result of the time and effort that everyone put in leading up to the committee meeting. One of the senators also joked in the meeting that he “had a busy weekend dealing with taxation on vaping puppies”, confirming that the message was received. There was also a puppy mill bill that the committee was covering in the same meeting which they also received calls about. We greatly appreciate everyone’s efforts with this, and we still have time to kill these bills.
These two bills still have momentum as amended in the Senate and we certainly do not want them to go any further. We have fought an artificial categorization of vapor products as tobacco products for several years and it is very important to continue to fight this. If we are to be categorized as a tobacco product it will increase the likelihood, some say it will guarantee, future taxation being implemented on our tobacco harm reduction products. If we allow this to happen it could render all vape shops illegal overnight due to not having a tobacco seller’s permits. There is no guarantee that we will all be able to receive tobacco sellers permits, which are a privilege, not a right. We can’t sit back and allow this life changing technology to fall under the category of an archaic nicotine delivery method that kills over 1300 people a day in this country. We are a new technology and we need to be treated as such.
Here’s our current call to action:
It is extremely important that we deliver our message in person to staff members at our senator’s district office. They need to understand the negative impact these bills will have on their constituents and for them to vote no on SB810 and SB1394. You do not need to set up a meeting, just walk in and ask to speak with someone about these bills.
We all have of a lot on our plates right now and it seems like this is a never-ending battle, keep in mind that the battle will only end if we lose. Keep your chin up, keep fighting and with one strong voice we can get through this together.
We’ve come too far, changed too many lives, and invested too much to give up now.
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If you are a consumer and would like to know how you can help the industry in the state of Florida, we suggest that you go to our members page and show your support by supporting the responsible brands that contribute on a monthly basis to our advocacy efforts.
The information in this article is the sole opinion of its author, Jonathan Risteen.