Massachusetts is on the verge of passing the most outrageous vaping law in the country, and the only thing that can stop it is immediate and overwhelming action by vapers. The bill has already passed the state house, and is headed for a vote in the Massachusetts Senate before senators leave for recess Wednesday.
There are actions Massachusetts vapers can take to fight back. CASAA has issued a call to action (below), making it simple for every resident to write their state senator. And a rally is being held in Boston on Tuesday, Nov. 19. But first, check out the details of this truly awful bill.
Massachusetts already has a temporary four-month ban on all vaping products, which is scheduled to end December 24. Bill H. 4183 doesn’t ban all vaping products—but it might as well. The bill contains these provisions:
In other words, all vapers must carry receipts for the vaping products they use on their person at all times, or risk losing their cars. In fact, if you even give a ride to a friend carrying an “unauthorized” vape, your car could also be seized and sold.
“Under this bill, unapproved vaping products would be treated like illegal drugs, possession of which is enough to justify forfeiture of the vehicles in which they are found,” Jacob Sullum wrote in Reason. “Massachusetts is poised to deprive vapers of the harm-reducing products they used to quit smoking, then steal their cars if they dare to defy that unjust and irrational edict.”
If you think it can’t get any worse, think again. According to Dr. Michael Siegel, a Boston University public health professor, the law may make possession of any e-liquid that is purchased before the law goes into effect illegal. Because the seller you buy from currently is not a licensed retailer and no tax has been paid to the state, your existing products could be considered illegal after the law takes effect.
The bill also bans menthol cigarettes, which will make Massachusetts home to two thriving black markets. Menthol cigarettes are especially favored by African-American smokers, which means that the organized crime and police activity that will surround trade in the newly criminalized product will focus on the same black neighborhoods that have already suffered through decades of unjust drug war punishment.
It’s crucial to have a big turnout at the Boston vape rally on Tuesday, Nov. 19, which is being jointly organized by the New England Vapor Technology Association (NEVTA) and the United Vapers Alliance (which organized the Washington D.C. rally). Protestors are gathering at the Boston Public Garden at 1:00 p.m.
After the success of the Washington rally, politicians are more aware than ever of grassroots vaping activists. A huge turnout in Boston can help cement our reputation as a real political force, and possibly help convince the Massachusetts Senate to reconsider the potential consequences of this awful bill. Please be there if you can.
Even more important is the call to action (link below). Massachusetts residents who oppose H. 4183 must contact their state senators and register strong disapproval. There are so many things wrong with this bill that many non-vapers will oppose it too. In fact, any Massachusetts resident who supports civil liberties should stand against it. There is no reason to resurrect the worst parts of the drug war, including asset forfeiture.