LAKEVILLE, Minn. -- Among many lessons learned over years of working to shape legislation, none is more important than the value of building constructive relationships with elected officials before finding yourself threatened by adverse legislation. One seasoned professional aptly explained the concept by saying, “It is important to make friends before you need them.”
It is with this goal in mind that NATO is excited to partner with more than 60 national and state trade associations to create a coalition that will make it easier for thousands of American businesses to not only respond to local challenges but also facilitate meaningful relationships with decision-makers before challenges arise.
Monitoring local legislation across the fifty states is no easy task. Providing a mechanism by which organizations and their members can easily and effectively communicate with decision-makers presents even more of a challenge. The launch of the National Response Network (NRN) is possible only through the collaborative effort of NATO and all member organizations. Our effort to date represents a beginning, not an ending. We will continue to add new organizations to our coalition and expect to soon achieve our goal of coverage in all 50 states.
NRN is inspired by the idea the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Each member organization receives local legislative alerts that they can share with their members to facilitate responses from local retailers affected by legislation.
In addition to the critically important alerts, the second phase of our project includes the launch of the National Local Advocacy Alliance website (NLAA). NLAA equips members with important services and information. The NLAA website provides four important tools designed to educate, inform and constructively affect local legislation throughout the country:
- Local Ordinance Page: A listing of proposed local tobacco ordinances under consideration, sorted by state, including copies of the proposed ordinances.
- Take Action Page: Contacting your local officials about a proposed ordinance is simplified with an easy-to-send, predrafted email message, or a comment for the Facebook page of local lawmakers.
- Resources Page: Fact sheets on the different kinds of local tobacco ordinances, which can be used as talking points with local elected officials.
- Ordinance Library: An archive of previously adopted local ordinances by state to help retailers understand the regulations already adopted by a local government.
LAS VEGAS -- As one of the tobacco category’s larger convention and trade shows draws near, retailers attending the Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE) are certain to encounter a wide range of new and interesting insights, including the ever-growing number of products piggybacking the cannabidiol (CBD) and vaping trends.
Here are four things to watch for …
Offering a variety of products, from ointments to combustibles and hemp, CBD companies are going to be in full force at TPE. Demand is only growing for these medicinal remedies—a projected $22 billion business by 2022—that have little to none of the psychoactive chemicals found in marijuana, according to Rolling Stone.
With the passage late last year of the Farm Bill, include hemp in that growing industry, because the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 brought hemp from being a Schedule 1 drug (regulated on the level of heroin) to a Schedule 5, which compares to cough medicine. Industry observers believe the number of products in the hemp subcategory will only increase.
The major e-cigarette manufacturers are all signed on for a presence at TPE, including brand names such as Juul, blu and Logic. While pressure from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has put a damper on flavored products at retail, expect exhibitors to be talking about innovation and how their products will evolve to help combustible-tobacco smokers switch to alternative nicotine-delivery systems.
One of the fastest-growing categories in tobacco is cigars, and with many of the major brands represented at TPE, the expertise in the exhibit hall will be very high. Those following the category have said hand-rolled and natural cigars in particular are showing significant increases in customer demand.
Insights from Lakeville, Minn.-based NATO and Chicago-based CSP magazine are on the agenda, with industry data and interviews with convenience retailers all structured to keep retailers ahead of all relevant trends and news. NATO officials are conducting a half-day session on Feb. 11, and CSP has organized a retailer panel to convene on Feb. 13.