Dec 03, 2018
How Did Vaping Do in the Midterm Elections?
The midterm elections yesterday produced a couple of highlights, but mostly depressing results for vapers and people interested in protecting the independent vaping industry. However, for cannabis vapers, the election news was mostly positive.
In Montana, voters defeated I-185, the so-called Healthy Montana Initiative, which would have increased taxes on cigarettes, and added a huge tax to vaping products, to raise funds for Medicaid expansion. It was a complicated issue, but Montanans are generally allergic to taxes, and that proved true in this election too.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other tobacco control groups are accusing the tobacco industry of buying the no vote with massive spending on TV ads. But vapers and vape shop owners and employees worked to fight the tax proposal too (and for free). Whatever caused the voters to reject the initiative, it probably saved every vape shop in the state.
In Florida the news was less positive. The bizarre Amendment 9, which inserted an indoor vaping ban into the state’s constitution — along with a ban on offshore oil drilling — passed overwhelmingly. That’s right, the voters were forced to vote against indoor vaping if they wanted to prevent oil companies from drilling off the coast in this tourism-dependent state. Hopefully this sneaky tactic will not spread to other states.
On the state level, Attorney General Maura Healey, who began an investigation of JUUL Labsin July, was re-elected by a huge margin. Also winning big was Republican Utah state Rep. Paul Ray, author of numerous bills aimed at taxing and restricting vaping products.
The election also saw the state legislatures in Oregon and New Mexico go all Democratic, and the state Houses in Washington and Colorado flip to blue. Oregon has come close to taxing e-liquid before, and American Vaping Association president Gregory Conley says it’s more likely to happen now.
Cannabis advocates have a 40-year head start on nicotine vapers, and everyone fighting for vape shops and the independent e-liquid industry could probably benefit from talking to the weed pros who are scoring in every election nowadays. Yesterday’s results continued the encouraging trend: 33 states and Washington, D.C. now have some form of legalized marijuana.
North Dakota rejected a proposal to legalize recreational sales. The ballot measure, which also mandated clearing the criminal records for all previous marijuana-related offenses, was soundly defeated, 60 to 40 percent. The state is still wrestling with rules for the medical regulation approved by voters two years ago.