Flavored Tobacco Ban Hits Roadblock in California

Back in August, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 793 into law. It was a bill that—among other things—prohibited tobacco retailers, and any of their agents or employees, from selling flavored tobacco products or tobacco product flavor enhancers. While the bill passed the state’s Senate with a unanimous 34-0 vote, it wasn’t necessarily popular with everyone.

A campaign was started shortly afterwards to create a ballot measure allowing California’s voters to repeal the law. 623,212 signatures from registered California voters (5% of the total votes cast in the last gubernatorial election) were needed to get the referendum on the ballot. More than 1 million signed on. That means the law will not go into effect on January 1, 2021, as previously expected.

Still, the signatures that were collected have to be verified at the county level. That process is now underway, and will likely continue until mid-to-late January. If enough signatures are verified, that means California voters will decide the fate of SB 793 in November of 2022.

Naturally, if it gets on the ballot and voters decide against it, the bill would be repealed. However, if the voters approve, it would become law when the votes are certified on December 8, 2022. That is, if it doesn’t face any additional legal hurdles along the way.


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