This Border Crossing Could Be Okay
May 22, 2013
The other day a client asked me whether he could purchase cigars from an out of state vendor to sell at his grocery store, or did he have to buy them from a Louisiana vendor, like he has to do with cigarettes.
Well, our office is like many other offices out there: whenever we're not sure of something around here, we tell you we're not sure, we'll find out and call you later with the correct answer. I sure had never heard of not being able to buy things from out of state for sale at your place of business.
First off, as we learned from the now infamous Jay-Z/Beyonce visit to Cuba: The US has a trade embargo with Cuba, so don't even think about ordering Cuban cigars for you to sell in any of your US stores.
However, there is no reason why your store can't order tobacco products from across state lines, if their prices are better.
Now, before you start ordering from "Nick O. Teene", who sells cigarettes over the internet or has his minions selling and delivering cigarettes for half price--cash only of course--you have to make sure that the tobacco vendor has been approved to sell tobacco by the State of Louisiana (translation: LA wants to make sure and get their taxes).
You'll be glad to know that you don't have to be an insider, or call your bookkeeper, or travel to Baton Rouge to find out whether the vendor is approved or not. You may even be able to check it out on your phone. The ATC website has a link where you simply type in the license info (type, number, name, etc), hit "search", and you get the thumb up or down on that vendor. The direct link is:
Once they check out, all is well, you can order your tobacco products without having to worry about which state they come from. If they don't check out, steer clear of a deal that may end up costing you more in the long run than what you're currently saving!
By the way, if you're a store owner, you can check out your own tobacco and liquor licenses to make sure you come up compliant--who knows...maybe you accidentally forgot to renew them this year!