SB 6328 Passed House and Senate | Last Step... Governor Inslee
Washington vapers have been fighting against overly restrictive regulations on vaping but also fighting for the good regulation that protect the things we care about as a community. Back in January, we covered a Senate Health Care Committee which presented SB 6328. This bill, which includes:
- Local preemption
- Protecting children
- Vape store licensing fees
As of yesterday has passed through the House and the Senate and is now on it’s way to be signed by Governor Inslee. We got the chance to speak with Joe Babba the Founder of the activist group WA Vape.
What does this mean for vapers and vape shop owners in Washington State?
“It’s the combination of 3 years of effort. It all started with the legislative session 2014, 3 sessions ago when they tried to put a tax of 95% tax on our products, on all of our products. That sent a shock wave, as you probably recall through the whole industry and our state. We organized ourselves, I formed a non-profit organization, hired a lobbyist, and we've been fighting city hall so to speak for 3 sessions. What this particular bill does is tank the majority of positive stuff that we support in the industry in washington state and to combine that with the preemption language that prevents the liberal jurisdiction vaping and prevents the liberal jurisdictions, like counties or cities, from passing their own legislation, their own ordinances, or their laws to regulate vaping. So the vaping regulations that are currently in place in all the counties in Washington State are now, null in void.”
For an industry that has always held a sense of self-regulation it was a no brainer that we would support any laws that would prevent children or minors from obtaining these products. He went on to say:
“Any place where kids are gonna be present, the local jurisdictions have the ability to go out and pass regulations and ordinances that limit vaping in those areas,” said Babba. While most vapers are very respectful of this already, many were worried that a ban on vaping meant a ban on vaping in vape stores. However, vapor stores have been left the exception Baba explains, “So adult only vapor stores are allowed to have vaping inside their store and in the form of tasting and sampling.”
Another important point of this bill is the registration fees, which vape store owners vastly preferred to the 95% tax they attempted to place on us back in 2014. “There’s going to be a statewide license, for all vapor stores, $175 a year, so we're going to be regulated from that standpoint,” Babba informed us. In comparison to the regulation the counties were trying to place prior though, vape store owners were much more accepting of this license.
The fourth point of this bill is regarding internet sales, and luckily Mr. Babba was able to help clarify this for us. Age verification software is going to be now mandatory which is part of the public domain to make sure that everyone buying e-liquid online is of age. This will be a great tool to help prevent minors from accessing these products.
Overall, Babba felt very positive about this bill passing and believes that Governor Inslee will sign this into law within the next 10-15 days.
“We didn’t get 100% of what we wanted but we got the vast majority but there are some discrepancies about how we got there. But over all it was quite a positive event for us.”
-- Joe Babba
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