Cigar Rights of America Executive Director Glynn Loope issued a statement on the ruling by Judge Amit P. Mehta granting a Motion for an Injunction Pending Appeal delaying the enforcement of the implementation of warning label requirements by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The injunction stopped the FDA’s plans to enforce warning label regulatory beginning August 10, 2018.

On behalf of each manufacturer that has joined Cigar Rights of America in this fight against onerous and unjustified warning labels on artisan and culturally significant handmade cigar packaging, we applaud the decision by U.S. Federal Judge Amit Mehta. He recognized, as he noted in his May 2018 opinion, that the warning label mandates of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration ‘smacks of basic unfairness.’ He further noted in that opinion that “this court cannot let pass without comment what it ‘deems’ to be a grossly unfair exercise of agency authority.” In his opinion of yesterday, he clearly noted that this action was to provide an injunction in order to protect the First Amendment rights of the industry.

This moment speaks to the virtue of our three front war. As I consistently state, this is about both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, and a courthouse in between. This is only one piece of the puzzle. While this brush fire is momentarily extinguished, possibly for several years, the premium cigar industry still must attack the remaining and potentially more threatening FDA bureaucratic agenda. Substantial equivalence, pre-market approval of new blends, onerous and expensive applications for reporting, barriers of entry for new companies and products – whether now or after 2020 – all need to be addressed, to ensure the future of the premium handmade cigar industry.

If the FDA truly believes in their own statements on ‘the continuum of risk’ then this current Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making is an opportunity for a fresh start to fairly recognizing that premium handmade cigars do not deserve the level of treatment and scrutiny they have been subjected to thus far.

We will continue with this message of regulatory relief to the Trump Administration, Congress, and the judicial branch. We encourage all patrons of premium handmade cigars to use the CRA petitions to Congress to request exemption from FDA oversight of premium handmade cigars, and to submit comments requesting relief to the FDA, through the current premium cigar public comment period, before the July 25 deadline.