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Sponsor: Indiana's new e-liquid law a 'mistake'

Posted at 9:47 PM, Sep 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-01 21:47:31-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- One of the sponsors of the state's new e-cigarette law now says it was a mistake.

Sen. Ron Alting apologized this week for the legislation, which has the makers of e-liquids fuming.

Alting says the entire law needs to be redone, and he's vowing to work with Republican leadership to correct it early in the 2017 session. But that won't be soon enough for the business owners who say they've been forced to shut their doors since the law took effect July 1.

"It's kind of sad when you walk into a business you put your heart and soul into and the lights are off," said Evan McMahon, owner of Liberation Vape.

The state's new law requires e-liquid manufacturers to show a contract with a security firm in an initial application for a permit from the state. The firm must employ at least one worker with specific certifications, including a licensed rolling steel fire door technician.

Only one company in the state meets the requirements: Lafayette-based Mulhaupt's.

McMahon says he didn't even bother applying for a permit for his business.

"Why would you file a permit application if you know it's going to be denied?" he asked.

McMahon has been actively fighting the law as head of an advocacy group for vape shop owners and vendors.

Alting says the law was never intended to have the effect it's had.

"The intent was never, ever to form a monopoly on the inspection company, nor was it to put anybody out of business," Alting said. "It's about public safety. It's an industry that needs to be regulated, as in other states, and that's exactly what the intent of the bill was."

But Alting says he will work to fix the law when the legislative session resumes.

"Anytime you have an amendment that goes out to the open market to qualify for a company, and only one in the state can qualify for it, it is quite obvious that is wrong," Alting said. "It's a mistake and we need to correct it."

In the meantime, the future for manufacturers like McMahon, who has already left the state, is unclear.