On May 22, 2003, Governor Ehrlich signed HB 889; this law, Chapter 455 of the Acts of the General Assembly of 2003, codified at Business Regulation Article § 16-501 et seq. became effective on June 1, 2003. As a result of this legislation, tobacco products of manufacturers that are not in compliance with the Escrow Act will no longer be permitted to be stamped, sold, or possessed for sale in the State of Maryland.
The new legislation, which is codified at Md. Code, Bus. Reg., §§ 16-501 et seq., requires all tobacco product manufacturers to certify to the Attorney General that they are in compliance with the Escrow Act - i.e., they have either signed the MSA or they have set up and deposited money into an escrow account otherwise meeting the requirements of Maryland law. Each manufacturer must also submit to the Attorney General a list of its brands and brand families. Because this new legislation complements the ability of Maryland to enforce the Escrow Act, it is known as "Complementary Legislation." All tobacco product manufacturers that wish to sell cigarettes and "roll-your-own" tobacco in Maryland must certify their compliance with Maryland law and list their brands and brand families on the Certification form prepared by the Attorney General. Tobacco product manufacturers must submit an initial Certification prior to approval for sale in the State and must submit subsequent Certifications on or before April 30 every subsequent year. Participating Manufacturers need only complete Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, & 6 of the Certification form; Nonparticipating Manufacturers must complete the entire form. Further instructions are provided in the Notices and Certification. Since September 15, 2003, the Office of the Attorney General has published a Directory of those tobacco products and manufacturers that are in full compliance with the Escrow Act and Complementary Legislation. The Directory lists the names of those tobacco product manufacturers that have been certified by the Attorney General as being fully compliant, together with each manufacturer's brand families and styles. The directory is accessible using the links on the left side of this page.
The Directory informs and directs licensed wholesalers that only those brands and brand families listed in the directory may be stamped, offered or possessed for sale in the State of Maryland. Any cigarettes or "roll-your-own" tobacco that have been sold, offered or possessed for sale, or imported for personal consumption in this State while not included in the Attorney General's directory will be deemed contraband subject to seizure and forfeiture as provided in §§ 13-836, 13-837, and 13-839 of the Tax - General Article. Furthermore, any person who sells, distributes, acquires, holds, owns, possesses, transports, imports, or causes to be imported, cigarettes or "roll-your-own" tobacco that the person knows or should know are intended for distribution or sale in the State while not included in the Attorney General's directory is guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both. The Attorney General will update the Directory as necessary to make additions and deletions to it. Licensed Wholesalers and others that sell, distribute or import cigarettes and "roll-your-own" tobacco should review the Attorney General's Directory frequently to ensure that the tobacco products they possess or are considering possessing may be lawfully sold, possessed or distributed in the State of Maryland.
Complementary Legislation requires Licensed Wholesalers to provide and update as necessary an electronic mail address to the Attorney General for the purpose of receiving any notifications that may be sent pursuant to it. The Attorney General has prepared a Licensed Wholesaler Address Reporting Form for that purpose. Licensed Wholesalers must complete the form and return it to the Office of the Attorney General. Licensed Wholesalers must update the information whenever a change takes place.
If you are a tobacco product manufacturer and have questions regarding the Escrow Act or Complementary Legislation, please contact Aravind Muthukrishnan, Office of the Attorney General of Maryland, 200 St. Paul Place, 20th Floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21202-1626, Tel: (410) 576-6395 , Fax: (410) 576-6955.
200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
410-576-6300 / 1-888-743-0023 toll-free / TDD: 410-576-6372