Wow, this is crazy. I hadn't heard of Maryland's law until just now. What a horrible encroachment on our personal freedoms... plus it creates a huge inconvenience. I hope other states don't follow suit.
This is as bad as what we have....76 percent tax rate which really sucks. So much for living in a free country now its even worse for you in Maryland. Do you have a friends address in a nearby state that you can get your packages to maybe you can drive close by but then that stops the savings you have. I think someone is trying to make sure their cigar business in Maryland is not going to go under by killing the internet shopping for cigars. So much for free trade anywhere.
Wow, 76% now. I thought the 65% I was paying 10 years ago was bad. I probably wouldn't have minded so much if I had only got more than a penny on the dollar worth of value back from jean cretin and his cronies.
Effective May 1st, 2011, a new law (http://mlis.state.md.us/2010rs/fnotes/bil_0008/hb0088.pdf) has declared it illegal to ship cigars into the state of Maryland.
You heard that right. Unbelievable as it may seem, Maryland legislators took away your right to choose where you buy your cigars. We at Cigars International, like many others in the cigar industry, believe this to be an un-American affront to freedom – and will increase the cost of a cigar to you.
Here is the question for you as a resident of Maryland: is it the responsibility of the state to dictate from whom you can and cannot purchase? Bear in mind, handmade cigars are a legal product. Cigars are no different than sneakers, pencils, or books in terms of interstate commerce. A state cannot arbitrarily choose to close its borders to a legal product, for any reason.
We need you to help overturn this ill-conceived piece of legislation.
Sadly, Maryland legislators think they are protecting a small handful of retail cigar stores in Maryland who, rather than compete in the marketplace on service, selection and pricing, chose to persuade state legislators to approve an anti-choice, anti-freedom, and anti-American law at the 11th hour. Competition is good. Competition is American.
As a Maryland resident, you should be outraged. Today it's cigars. Tomorrow it will be something else. Enough is enough. It is time to fight back.
HERE IS WHAT I AM ASKING YOU TO DO TODAY: The Maryland state Comptroller is Peter Franchot. I urge you to contact him today. Tell him you're a voter, you enjoy cigars, and this law limits your choices and freedom. We must make our voices heard or who knows what will be illegal tomorrow.
You can reach Mr. Franchot by calling him at 1-800-552-3941 or emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or you can mail him at
Comptroller of Maryland
80 Calvert Street
P.O. Box 466
Annapolis, MD 21404-0466
Voluntary compliance from out of state vendors and package delivery services such as UPS, FedEx, etc. seems unlikely, as doing so would hurt their business in sales and require extra time and expense to enforce. Unless the return address or something else on the package identifies the contents as cigars there isn't anything to indicate what's in the package, so one would assume cigars could and would be delivered to Maryland addresses sliding under the new law ... hell, if Cubans cigars are getting to customers from Switzerland tax-free in spite of Federal and State prohibitions now, I don't see how Maryland can do any better enforcing theirs.
Many states, in violation of the Constitution, have attempted and are still trying to regulate interstate commerce, which is what Maryland is doing in this case. Interstate commerce is under the sole purview of the Federal Government. Thus far, most states have dropped this nonsense and satisfied themselves with the status quo (i.e., you pay taxes on your taxable items if the vendor has a B&M in your state -- otherwise the customer who owes taxes on goods purchased out of state -- via the internet, on the phone, by USPS, UPS & all package delivery companies, or in person -- is personally and legally required to report and pay for any and all state taxes due on their purchases).
Slightly off topic, but of serious concern and an on fire topic on the foodie, wine, liquor and beer blogs is a current push, instigated by highly paid Congressional Lobbyists representing beer, liquor and wine distributors nationwide, to urge the passing of a Federal Law (HR 1161) banning all interstate shipments of wine, beer and liquor. This is immensely popular among the members of Congress (already dozens of co-sponsors) because these distributors contribute large sums of money to both parties and to politicians' campaign coffers. Read more about this and what you can do about it here: http://www.zesterdaily.com/zester-soapbox-articles/903-wine-shippin...
Aside from violating the "Commerce Clause" they are interfering with postal deliveries. If I remember correctly, tampering with or interfering with postal deliveries is a Federal crime. I do not believe that a State legislature can legally commit a federal crime.
It's illegal for the vendor to ship to Maryland. It's not illegal for a Maryland resident to buy cigars online.
Get a Delaware address at the UPS Store and have them forward packages to you.
That was it! I knew there was a workaround in the language of the law.
Still sucks, though.
That "workaround" doesn't work around much.
First, there's the internet vendor shipping charge, which you can avoid and maybe get free shipping, but let's average it out to $6 per order.
Then, you have the added cost of maintaining the Box Address at the UPS Store (or other commercial mailbox drop) which a UPS Store offers in small, medium and large boxes for 3, 6, 12 months; a small UPS Store box for 3 months costs $42 or $14 a month.
Finally, there's the UPS Store shipping and handling fees to get the package to your home ("normal" UPS shipping charges, plus the UPS Store's "handling fee."
At least for the me and the way I buy cigars, this UPS Store idea would be fairly expensive and a hassle ... may as well buy locally or count of friends and relatives to help you if and when they can.
Well, I live in MD, but work in VA. I'll just have them shipped to the office, then inform MD of my workaroud.
HB88 Page 4:
"Persons in the business of selling or distributing OTPs may not sell or ship any OTP that is ordered or purchased by mail, over the telephone, Internet, or other electronic network to unlicensed recipients. Persons that sell or distribute OTPs in this manner are guilty of a felony, may be fined up to $50 per package of OTPs illegally sold, and/or imprisoned for up to two years.
OTPs are considered contraband products if they (1) are possessed or sold in a manner that is not consistent with the licensing requirements established by the bill; or (2) are transported by vehicle in the State by a person who does not have the records required by the bill. The bill establishes various requirements for the shipment, import, and sale of OTPs. Only OTP brand owners, importers, or their designated agents (in addition to OTP license holders) may participate in these activities. Persons who violate the bill’s provisions related to shipment, importation, or sale of OTP are subject to disciplinary action, fines, and imprisonment as specified by the bill.
Transporters of OTPs must have a delivery ticket or invoice in the vehicle that states the quantity and brand of the OTP being transferred as well as the name and address of the seller and the authorized buyer. The Comptroller may require a carrier who transports OTP into the State to submit a copy of any freight bill relating to the OTP shipment."
I am still not understanding this law, as it seems to apply to business outside of the state shipping into Maryland. Maryland has no authority to impose any kind of restrictions on the sellers of OTPs that are outside of its state's lines.
Am I missing something
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