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Nick draws on years of military leadership, project management, and legal experience to help clients solve difficult business problems from a legal perspective. His practical advice enables clients to navigate regulatory compliance and licensing issues, complex investigations, and high stakes enforcement actions that arise under state and federal law.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) most recent regulatory agenda, it plans to finalize a proposed rule that would make significant changes to requirements applicable to educational institutions that enroll students utilizing VA benefits, such as under the extremely popular Chapter 33 Post-9/11 GI Bill and Chapter 31 Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) programs, both of which pay tuition and fees directly to schools. The new regulations, which are expected to become final in April and go into effect shortly thereafter, will implement the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of 2018. As the Congressional Research Service explained, that bill made “a number of changes to educational benefits.”Continue Reading VA to Revise Educational Institution Requirements Under the 2018 Veterans Benefits and Transition Act

As we previously reported, the Treasury Department released a 2022 report on Competition in the Markets for Beer, Wine, and Spirits (the Competition Report) recommending, in part, that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) revive or initiate rulemaking to consider labeling requirements that include alcohol and nutritional information per-serving, major food allergens, and/or ingredients. TTB has announced that it will hold two virtual listening sessions on this topic on February 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., EST; and February 29, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., EST. The deadline to register to virtually attend either session is February 27, 12 p.m., EST,. Interested parties may register for either session here. These listening sessions present a unique opportunity to provide input to TTB at the early stages of a rulemaking that could potentially affect labels across the industry.Continue Reading TTB Seeking Public Input on Potential Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Changes

We recently discussed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products’ (CTP) strategic plan intended to guide CTP’s activity for the next five years. On the same day, CTP released its annual regulation and policy guidance agenda, which “outlines rules and guidance documents that are in development or planned for development.” Below, we discuss CTP’s current priorities for new regulations. CTP’s policy agenda is important because it identifies the areas CTP views as most in need of regulation or guidance, and the key actions it plans to take in those areas.Continue Reading FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products Releases Annual Regulatory Agenda

Recently, NJOY LLC filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against more than 30 foreign and domestic defendants that manufacture, market, distribute, and sell tobacco products in an (indirect) effort to force them to comply with federal and state laws. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company (collectively, RJR) also recently filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) against more than 25 foreign and domestic manufacturers, distributors, and retailers (collectively, the respondents) that seeks to prevent the import and resale of certain tobacco products. These lawsuits serve as two examples of how industry is trying to take independent legal action to target allegedly noncompliant actors and force them to comply with applicable law.

Continue Reading ENDS Companies Take Legal Action Against Allegedly Noncompliant Competitors

As we previously reported, most states authorize direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipments of wine if the shipper has obtained the correct license, but this area of law has continued to evolve through litigation. Recently, the Virginia Court of Appeals decided a case involving whether an out-of-state online wine retailer (the retailer) was required to maintain multiple licenses for multiple out-of-state locations. This case should be of interest to any multistate wineries, breweries, or retailers selling and shipping wine or beer to consumers.

Continue Reading “Places of Business” Matter in the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Act

Across the United States hemp products seem to be everywhere. From corner stores to spas, one can find a hemp- or CBD-infused version of almost anything. Hemp and its derivatives are found in foods, cosmetics, hand-rolled cigarettes and vape pens. A new category of “intoxicating hemp products,” such as delta-8 THC products, have taken the hemp industry by storm. Although the market is vast, the regulatory landscape contains many pitfalls. Potential market entrants must carefully research the applicable laws, and take into account any federal-level risks, before deciding to invest in a hemp or hemp-derived products venture. This article reviews the legal status of hemp-derived products, including smokable hemp products, at the state and federal levels.Continue Reading Troutman Pepper Provides Hemp Derivatives Insight

On June 8, more than 50 members of Congress signed a letter addressed to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf, expressing concerns over FDA’s delays in reviewing pending Premarket Tobacco Product Applications (PMTAs) and its failure to remove unauthorized products from the market. The letter strongly urges “FDA to (1) expeditiously complete review of remaining e-cigarette PMTAs; (2) follow the science on the risks flavored [e-cigarettes] pose to youth and deny PMTAs for all non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes, including menthol flavored products; and (3) increase enforcement actions against companies that make, distribute, and sell flavored products without a marketing order, especially products with a significant market share, or products that are most popular with youth.” The letter also requests that FDA respond to several questions by June 23, as summarized below (as of the date of this blog post, we are not aware of any FDA response).Continue Reading Congress Urges FDA to Complete Its Review of E-Cigarette Applications

The Virginia ABC will assess a regulatory scheme for liquid nicotine, with the consultation of stakeholders, and issue a report and recommendations.Continue Reading Stakeholders’ Input Welcome: Virginia ABC to Assess Options for Regulating Liquid Nicotine in the Commonwealth

In this second of a two-part series, Stephen Piepgrass continues his discussion with colleagues Bryan Haynes, Agustin Rodriguez and Nick Ramos about significant developments in the tobacco industry during the past year, and their predictions on what to expect in the months ahead.Continue Reading 2022 Significant Developments in the Tobacco Industry and What to Expect in 2023 (Part Two)

The U.S. tobacco industry is subject to a variety of regulators at the federal and state level. In this first of a two-part series focused on significant regulatory developments in the tobacco industry, Stephen Piepgrass is joined by colleagues Bryan Haynes, Agustin Rodriguez and Nick Ramos to review what happened over the past year, and offer thoughts on what to expect in the months ahead.Continue Reading 2022 Significant Developments in the Tobacco Industry and What to Expect in 2023 (Part One)