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California Coalition for Fairness Coalition to Place Referendum on Flavored Tobacco Ban Submits More Than One Million Signatures.

The Coalition seeks to overturn SB 793, the flavored tobacco ban, signed into law earlier in 2020. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2021. Due to the number of signatures submitted and the limitations brought on by COVID-19, it is likely that the signature counting process could carry in to late February. If the referendum is certified to be placed on the ballot in 2022 the implementation of the law will be delayed until after the vote is taken, however, from Jan 1 when the law takes effect until the referendum is certified the law will need to be complied with. This may take a few months.

The press release announcing the signature submission is included below. You can read the original press release here.

California Coalition for Fairness Submits Signatures of More Than One Million Registered Voters to County Election Offices 

(SACRAMENTO) — The California Coalition for Fairness (the Coalition) issued the following statement today as it submitted more than one million signatures from registered voters who, with each signature, have demonstrated their desire to have their voices heard regarding SB 793, an arbitrary law that would have taken legal products off the market that millions of adults choose to enjoy.

In the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, raging wildfires, heatwaves and power outages across the state, more than one million Californians signed petitions for the right to have their voice heard on an unfair law that benefits the wealthy and special interests while costing jobs and cutting funding for education and healthcare. 

“Banning the sale of FDA-authorized alternatives to adult cigarette smokers will cause serious and lasting damage to tobacco harm reduction goals and potentially increase California’s rising budget deficit during COVID-19.

“SB 793 criminalizes the sale of menthol cigarettes preferred by people of color and creates special exemptions for products preferred by the wealthy—allowing the sale of expensive flavored cigars and pipe tobacco, in addition to hookah, to remain legal.”

Article II, Section 9, of the California Constitution provides just 90 days from the date of the bill’s enactment to request and receive a circulating title and summary from the Attorney General, print petitions, gather the required number of valid signatures, and file the petitions with the county elections officials.

With more than one million signatures filed with county election officials around the state, the Coalition exceeded the required 623,212 signatures and is confident the referenda will be certified via the random sampling verification method.

Per Article II, Section 10 (a) of the California Constitution when a referendum is filed against a statute, that statute is thereby delayed from going into effect. With the referendum signatures submitted, we believe California consumers will be able to purchase products, including flavored products that have been authorized by the Federal Food and Drug Administration.

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