Just when Port's Smoke Shack owner Corey Judson thought all would return to normal with his Roll-Your-Own cigarette shop, a court decision again put the brakes on his operation.
After getting word on Aug. 17 that pending legal action would allow him to operate without manufacturers' license — a requirement created under a law passed in July as part of the federal transportation bill, one that RYO stores hired attorneys and created a petition to overturn — Judson said he had his store ready to start operating RYO machines by Aug. 20.
But on Aug. 20, Judson learned that the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on a different case from 2010 that again classified RYO cigarette shops as manufacturers, and that he would now have until Aug. 27 to stop operating his machines without that license.
"We find that the Highway Act mooted the underlying controversy with regard to roll-your-own tobacco," judges wrote in their ruling.
Requiring RYO cigarette shops to have manufacturer licensing means they are required to pay the same taxes and obtain the same permits as big-name tobacco manufacturers to continue allowing customers to use rolling machines on the premises. Judson said that means the carton of 200 self-rolled cigarettes that did cost $33.50 would have a $22.50 tax applied to it.
Judson said a group of RYO stores in Wisconsin planned to have a conference call with attorneys Monday afternoon to make a plan to continue fighting the change.
The first time Judson's operations were halted, he came up with a temporary means to helping his business survive: selling RYO machines for $85 each that people can use in their homes; in the first week of that plan, he sold out of his six machines. He also sells roll-your-own supplies, candles and a few other miscellaneous items.