‘Black market tobacco sales create unfair competition’

ATLANTA – The Georgia House of Representatives last week passed a measure aimed at decreasing the sales of so-called “black market” cigarettes and cigars in Georgia.

HB 1071, sponsored by state Rep. Penny Houston, R-Nashville, eliminates the lifetime license for retail sales of tobacco. Instead, the measure would, if signed into law, create a one-year license for tobacco merchants.

The measure, which is now in the state Senate, would set penalties for tobacco illegally brought into The Peach State.

“Black market tobacco sales create unfair competition for honest small businesses across the state,” Houston said in a news release. “HB 1071 will crack down on black market tobacco sales, providing a level playing field for those who follow the law and pay taxes.”

The legislation would also allow the state’s Department of Revenue to track tobacco sales, which proponents say will allow investigators to better investigate black market sales.

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