Less than two weeks before Indiana’s contested e-liquid law goes into effect, retailers and manufacturers have decried the monopoly it stands to create by potentially allowing only six e-liquid manufacturers approved by one security firm.
Here are five important facts about the new law.
Intended to stabilize an unregulated market
Indiana Rep. Kevin Mahan (R), who authored part of the new vaping legislation, said the law was passed primarily to protect public health in the absence of state and federal regulations—not to restrict e-liquid manufacturers.
“It’s kind of the wild West with the e-liquids,” he told the Lafayette Journal & Courier.
“There is no boogeyman in the closet on this, trust me,” added State Senator Ron Alting (R), who also authored part of the vaping bill. He insisted complaints about the new regulations are coming from “people that don’t want government regulations on this and want to be able to manufacture in bathtubs in back rooms.”
Manufacturing requirements fairly straightforward
The new law includes new requirements for e-liquid manufacturing that are not terribly out of the ordinary: E-liquids must be manufactured in a clean facility, and have childproof caps and detailed bottle labels with traceable batch numbers.
The controversial part of the law is a requirement that any e-liquid manufacturer selling in Indiana must be certified by an approved security firm by June 30, 2016.
So far, only one security firm has been approved
The law stipulates that approved security firms must employ one or more people certified by the Door and Hardware Institute as an architectural hardware consultant and the International Door Association as a rolling steel fire door technician. The firms also must have employed such individuals for at least a year as of July 1, 2016.
So far, only Mulhaupt’s Inc., Lafayette, Ind. has been ruled as eligible under the law, though the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ATC)—the agency charged with implementing the law—reported another firm, Security Specialists, is being considered.
Mulhaupt’s has certified only six e-liquid companies
Out of more than 30 e-liquid manufacturer applications, Mulhaupt’s has certified only six, most newly formed, reported the Indianapolis Business Journal. VapeINg LLC, Lafayette, Ind., was formed in March 2016, according to the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office. The registered agent for the facility is Andrew Gutwein, a lawyer also representing Mulhaupt’s. Cloudtown LLC, Cleves, Ohio, was also formed in March 2016, the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office said. Cloudtown does not have a working telephone number, said the report.
The four other e-liquid manufacturers certified by Mulhaupt’s include Indianapolis-based DB Vapes; Fort Myers, Fla.-based DNM Ventures; Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Licenses E-Liquid Manufacturer; and Evansville, Ind.-based Vapor Bank.
Mulhaupt’s said four of these approved manufacturers are producing e-liquids or will have the products in production by June 24, 2016. The other two companies are waiting to fully invest in e-liquid production until they have more clarity on the effect of new regulations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Indiana ATC said there is an application pending for a seventh unnamed manufacturer. It would be certified by Security Specialists if Indiana determines the security firm is eligible.
Lawmakers fear a monopoly
State Sen. Vaneta Becker (R) proposed an amendment to the e-liquid law that ended up allowing Mulhaupt’s to qualify as eligible. As originally written, there was not a single security firm in the United States that would have qualified.
“I did it because I thought I was helping,” Becker told the Journal & Courier. “Then the more I heard from people all over the state, it just didn’t sit with me.”
Becker ultimately went on to try and get her own language stripped from the bill, because it creates a monopoly with Mulhaupt’s as the only qualifying security firm. Her attempts were unsuccessful, and the amendment remains.
“I just felt like they were moving too quickly, and I guess I didn’t know what was really behind it,” she said. “I just decided the more I heard about this and the more discussions I had, that I would rather nobody be eligible than to create a monopoly.”