• May 28, 2024

Vape Shop Owners Challenge Kentucky Registry Bill

 Vape Shop Owners Challenge Kentucky Registry Bill

Credit: Adobe

Credit: Adobe

Several vape businesses, as well as the Kentucky Hemp Association and Kentucky Vaping Retailers Association, are suing the state government over House Bill 11, which will restrict vape sales starting in 2025.

Among other policy changes, HB 11 will bar businesses from selling vapes that are either not authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or are not currently under review by the regulatory agency.

During public debates, various arguments for and against HB 11 were made before the Legislature passed the law in late March.

But the vape shops’ lawsuit, filed last week in Franklin Circuit Court, challenges the legislation on constitutional grounds, according to media reports.

The lawsuit zeroes in on HB 11’s reliance on defining a “vapor product” in a way that includes devices that feature “vaporized nicotine or other substances.”

The shops’ petition says this definition encompasses not only nicotine vapes but also hemp-derived vaping products they currently sell. And it says the definition is broad enough to apply to medical cannabis vaping products that will become legal in Kentucky next year.

The lawsuit argues this makes the new law unconstitutional for two reasons.

First, it claims HB 11 violates a provision in the Kentucky Constitution that says the Legislature can’t pass a law that relates to more than one subject, and that subject must be specified in its title.

The plaintiffs say HB 11 is titled an “act relating to nicotine products” but actually affects non-nicotine products as well. They argue this effectively violates the constitutional rule.

Second, the lawsuit says hemp-derived vapes generally aren’t regulated by the FDA, which makes it impossible for businesses to comply with HB 11’s requirement that they only sell vapes that have received or are seeking FDA approval.

The suit argues this violates a due process clause in the U.S. Constitution and makes HB 11 an “arbitrary” law, which is prohibited by the Kentucky Constitution.