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Agustin is sought after by clients for his strategic counsel on their most challenging competitive and regulatory compliance issues, including tobacco Master Settlement Agreement issues, federal and state enforcement investigations, licensing and excise tax issues, developing compliance programs, and evaluating advertising and marketing practices. A partner in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group as well as its Tobacco and Cannabis law practices, he represents manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and suppliers in all aspects of their businesses, including regulatory compliance, FDA requirements, administrative disputes involving federal or state governmental entities, mergers and acquisitions, commercial agreements, and taxation matters.

In August 2023, Judge Amit P. Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia partially vacated a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule that had “deemed” premium cigars subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), known as the “Deeming Rule.” This decision exempted premium cigars from FDA’s tobacco product authorities. In September 2023, however, FDA appealed, and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is currently weighing the matter. So, what would it take for FDA to succeed on appeal, and what is at stake for the premium cigar industry?Continue Reading What’s at Stake for the Premium Cigar Industry as DC Circuit Considers FDA Appeal?

On April 2, three advocacy organizations filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California seeking an order directing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to promulgate its already-proposed rule banning menthol as a characterizing flavor in combustible cigarettes. The case comes as FDA has missed several internal deadlines for promulgating a final rule on the topic.Continue Reading Advocacy Organizations Sue FDA Over Delay in Menthol Cigarette Ban

The Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act, 15 U.S.C. § 375 et seq., is a federal law with two primary objectives: (1) to prevent federal and state tax evasion on tobacco products, and (2) to prevent sales of tobacco products to minors. Government agencies, increasingly concerned about cheap, untaxed products getting into the hands of underage consumers, are using the PACT Act’s enforcement tools to crack down on noncompliant companies.

If you are involved in the online sale and/or shipping of tobacco products, here are five things you need to know about the PACT Act.Continue Reading PACT Act Basics: Five Things Tobacco Sellers and Shippers Should Know

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) recently upheld, in a unanimous decision, the town of Brookline’s ordinance banning the sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products to anyone born after Jan. 1, 2000 (the Tobacco Sales Ban). Brookline is the first U.S. locality to impose a tobacco sales ban based on a specific date.Continue Reading Massachusetts High Court Upholds Local Tobacco Sales Ban

On February 28, the Virginia General Assembly passed House Bill No. 698, which would legalize sales of recreational marijuana at retail in the Commonwealth. It now heads to the desk of Governor Glenn Youngkin, where its future is uncertain. In this blog post, we highlight key provisions of the proposed framework related to licensing, taxes, testing, and labeling.Continue Reading Recreational Marijuana Regime Passes Virginia General Assembly

Over the past decade, at least five states and hundreds of localities have passed, or attempted to pass, laws banning flavored tobacco products. To date, litigants have brought many challenges to these laws, often arguing that such bans are preempted under the federal Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA). This argument, however, has largely proven unsuccessful — a trend that continued in January when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company’s challenge to California’s ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products.Continue Reading US Supreme Court Declines to Hear Challenge to California’s Flavor Ban

We recently reported that several state legislatures are considering bills to establish vapor product directories this year — namely Florida, Indiana, Missouri, and Virginia. Throughout January and early February, similar bills have been introduced in Arizona, Hawaii, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. Additionally, a bill in Oklahoma would update the state’s existing directory framework to be consistent with the proposals of these recent bills. The directories would allow states to prohibit the sale of vapor products that are not authorized by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or subject to a pending premarket application. Like the proposals discussed in our previous coverage, these bills are intended to reduce the proliferation of illicit vapor products.Continue Reading More States Consider Establishing Vapor Product Directories

In early January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, sitting en banc in Wages & White Lion Investments, L.L.C. v. U.S. Food & Drug Administration, held that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) marketing denial order (MDO) of petitioner’s premarket tobacco applications (PMTAs) violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

Continue Reading En Banc Fifth Circuit Solidifies Circuit Split on Flavored ENDS Product MDOs

The Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (CCA), which assumed oversight of Virginia’s medical cannabis program from the Board of Pharmacy as of January 1, has promulgated regulations to govern medical cannabis operations in the Commonwealth. The regulations are largely similar to those that existed under the Board of Pharmacy, but they bring the Commonwealth one step closer to opening applications for the state’s single unlicensed health service area (HSA).

Continue Reading Virginia Advances Toward New Medical Cannabis License Application With New Regulations

Recently enacted Pennsylvania Senate Bill 773 (SB773) introduces several amendments intended to expand opportunities and increase competition among existing cannabis licensees in Pennsylvania. The bill seeks to support independent licensees in the state and is a response to the consolidation among licensees that many states have seen as state-legal marijuana operators struggle under the weight of federal prohibition and competition from the unregulated marketplace.Continue Reading Pennsylvania Seeks to Increase Competition Among Medical Cannabis Licensees With SB773 Passage