GENERAL CERTIFICATION INFORMATION
In 2003, the Washington State Legislature passed a law (RCW 70.158) requiring tobacco product manufacturers to annually certify cigarettes and loose “roll your own” tobacco to be sold in the State of Washington. The law requires all tobacco product manufacturers who intend to sell cigarettes and loose “roll-your-own” tobacco within the state of Washington as defined in RCW 70.157.010 – to file a Certification of Enrollment with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.
Initial certification must be filed prior to doing business in the state and must be re-filed by April 30 of each year in order to continue doing business. The Certification of Enrollment must be filed whether the manufacturer intends to sell cigarettes directly or through a distributor, retailer, or similar intermediary. This Certification is in addition to any Certificate of Compliance for payments that may be required pursuant to RCW 70.157. One of the requirements for certification is a Permit from the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Information regarding TTB permits is available on the TTB website. Another requirement is approval by the Washington Fire Marshal for every individual brand style of every cigarette as Fire Safe. Further information about Fire Safe cigarettes is available on the Fire Marshal’s website. Verification of this Fire Safe approval must be submitted with the initial certification of enrollment application, and with the annual re-certification application due by April 30 of each year.
See here for general information, definitions, instructions and a copy of the Certification of Enrollment form.
Non-participating Manufacturers: A nonparticipating manufacturer (“NPM” defined in RCW 70.158.020) must either register to do business in the state, or appoint a registered agent for service of process. If the NPM is registered to do business in Washington, it must provide a copy of its Certificate of Authority to the Attorney General. If the NPM is not registered to do business in Washington, it must complete the Statement of Registered Agent form, which must be signed by the NPM and the appointed Registered Agent, and that signed form must be provided to the Attorney General.
List of Certified Tobacco Manufacturers: Those who offer cigarettes for sale in this state must check the directory of certified tobacco product manufacturers -- by brand or by manufacturer – to see if the tobacco product manufacturer and the cigarette brand family may be sold in this state. It is unlawful for any person to affix a stamp to a package or other container of cigarettes of a tobacco product manufacturer or brand family not included in the directory. RCW 70.158.030(3)(a).
It is also unlawful for any person to sell, offer, or possess for sale in this state or import for sale in this state, any cigarettes of a tobacco product manufacturer or brand family not included in the directory. Failure to comply can result in a civil penalty, revocation of the wholesaler license, injunction, and criminal charges. Additionally, such cigarette products may be seized as contraband. RCW 70.158.030(3)(b).
After an initial Certification of Enrollment application has been approved, Non-Participating Manufacturers must submit quarterly and annual report forms and verification of payments (if necessary).
INFORMATION REGARDING RYO CIGARETTE MACHINES (updated 11/25/2013)
As of July 1, 2012, it is unlawful for a commercial roll-your-own cigarette machine establishment to sell, offer, or possess for sale any tobacco to be purchased by consumers as tobacco for making cigarettes, regardless of its label, unless it appears on the Washington Attorney General’s Certified Tobacco Products Directory. RCW 82.24. Manufacturers of tobacco suitable for making cigarettes whose tobacco is sold to Washington RYO cigarette-making retail establishments must comply with RCW 70.157 and RCW 70.158, regardless of how the tobacco is labeled. Further information regarding the necessary licenses required for operation of a Commercial Cigarette-making Machine is available from the Washington Department of Revenue.
On May 29, 2012 the Attorney General’s Office notified RYO cigarette machine retailers and tobacco manufacturers that new Washington legislation would take effect on July 1, 2012 requiring that cigarettes produced by commercial RYO cigarette machines must be stamped with the Washington cigarette tax stamp. This new legislation impacted Washington’s tobacco certification requirements. The May 2012 letters to retailers and to manufacturers give further information. On August 6, 2012 the Attorney General’s Office notified the retailers who were licensed operators of Commercial Cigarette-Making Machines under RCW 82.24 of the certification requirements. The August 2012 letter also requires completion of an Initial Report giving the total inventory, brand and manufacturer of the tobacco to be used in the machine for making cigarettes. The updated Initial Tobacco Inventory Report form is here.
Federal legislation has also changed the requirements for RYO cigarette machine retailers. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, went into effect on Friday, July 6, 2012. The federal statute can be found at 26 USC 5702(d). Please check the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s website for further information on this federal law. Other information about the federal requirements related to tobacco and cigarette-making machines is also available at the following links: