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01/06/2022

New Year Ushers in Tobacco Licensing Law for Oregon Retailers

The requirement will cost operators $953 for the annual license.
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tobacco sales at retail

SALEM, Ore. — Retailers across Oregon now need a license to sell tobacco products. The new statewide regulation went into effect on Jan. 1.

The Tobacco Retail License law allows the state to more accurately track where tobacco is being sold to ensure that businesses are following Oregon's tobacco laws, including its Tobacco 21 rule, according to KDRV.com.

Prior to the start of the new year, Oregon was one of only seven states that didn't require a tobacco retail license of some sort. With the legislative change, retailers must now buy an annual license for $953 from the Oregon Department of Revenue. The fee is slated to cover the costs of running the licensing program and conducting inspections, the news outlet reported.

Businesses on tribal lands are exempt from the law, as are those licensed under the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission or the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to sell cannabis vaping products.

The Oregon Health Authority and local officials will focus on reaching out to retailers about the new licensing requirement for the first six months. Inspections begin immediately to check if retailers have a license, with penalties issued if they do not. Public health inspections and another list of potential penalties begin July 1, the report added.

"The law is designed to make enforcement equitable for retailers and communities," said the Jackson County Public Health. "Public health specialists, not law enforcement, will conduct inspections, following guidance from racial equity organizations to ensure they do not over-enforce in communities of color and other communities targeted by the tobacco industry. The law also eliminates penalties for youth purchase, use and possession of tobacco products, which will help reduce interactions between youth of color and police, and put responsibility on those who sell tobacco illegally, not on youth."