Local Control of Tobacco Supported by MACo

On March 9, 2022, Associate Policy Director D’Paul Nibber testified before the House Economic Matters Committee in support of HB 477 – Cigarettes, Tobacco Products, and Electronic Smoking Devices – Local Law Authorization. This bill authorizes a county or municipality to enact and enforce local laws regulating the sale and distribution of cigarettes, other tobacco products, and electronic smoking devices, subject to certain exceptions.

From the MACo testimony

In 2013, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that a Prince George’s County ordinance regulating the size of cigar packs was preempted by the General Assembly. The broad, and most pervasive, interpretation of the ruling in Altadis v. Prince George’s County is that local governments may not regulate the packaging, sale, and distribution of tobacco products, including cigars, as state law has occupied that field.

Without ever passing a law that actually states local governments are preempted in this field, the State has effectively created this as its policy. This “implied preemption” has denied communities a tool to respond to local problems, and to go beyond the floor set by the statewide laws enacted by the General Assembly. Worse, it has impeded the enforcement of state law since county agencies, especially health departments, are unable to issue violations under equivalent local laws.

MACo testified on the bill’s crossfile, SB 99, on January 27, 2022.

More on MACo’s Advocacy:

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2022 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.
Learn more about MACo’s 2022 Legislative Initiatives.
Read more General Assembly News on MACo’s Conduit Street blog.