Tobacco distributor licenses; application; conditions; revocations, suspensions and cancellations
A. Every person acquiring or possessing for the purpose of making the initial sale or distribution in this state of any tobacco products on which a tax is imposed by this chapter shall obtain from the department a license to sell tobacco products. The application for the license shall be in the form provided by the department and shall be accompanied by a fee of twenty-five dollars for each place of business listed in the application. The form shall state that the identity of the applicant will be posted to the department's website for public inspection. The application for a license shall include the applicant's name and address, the applicant's principal place of business, all other places of business where the applicant's business is conducted for the purpose of making the initial sale or distribution of tobacco products in this state, including any location that maintains an inventory of tobacco products, and any other information required by the department. If the applicant is a firm, partnership, limited liability company, limited liability partnership or association, the applicant shall list the name and address of each of the applicant's members. If the applicant is a corporation, the application shall list the name and address of the applicant's officers and any person who directly or indirectly owns an aggregate amount of ten percent or more of the ownership interest in the corporation. If a licensee is a corporation, firm, partnership, limited liability company, limited liability partnership or association, the licensee under this subsection shall notify the department in writing within thirty days after any change in membership, legal entity status or ownership of more than fifty percent of the total ownership interest in a single transaction. If a licensee changes its business location, the licensee under this subsection shall notify the department within thirty days after a change in location. If the licensee is making a change in its business location by adding or replacing one or more additional places of business that are not currently listed on its application, the licensee must remit a fee of twenty-five dollars for each additional place of business.
B. For the purposes of subsection A of this section, an applicant with a controlling interest in more than one business engaged in activities as a distributor shall apply for a single license encompassing all such businesses and list each place of business in its application. For the purposes of this subsection, “controlling interest” means direct or indirect ownership of at least eighty percent of the voting shares of a corporation or of the interests in a company, business or person other than a corporation.
C. The department shall issue a license authorizing the applicant to acquire or possess tobacco products in this state on the condition that the applicant complies with this chapter and the rules of the department. The license:
1. Shall be nontransferable. A licensee may not transfer its license to a new owner when selling its business, and any court-appointed trustee, receiver or other person shall obtain a license in its own name in cases of liquidation, insolvency or bankruptcy or pursuant to a court order if the business remains in operation as a distributor of tobacco products. A licensee shall apply for a new license if it changes its legal entity status or otherwise changes the legal structure of its business.
2. Shall be valid for one year unless earlier revoked by the department.
3. Shall be displayed in a conspicuous place at the licensee's place of business. If the licensee operates from more than one place of business, the licensee must display a copy of its license in a conspicuous place at each location.
D. As a condition of licensure under this section, an applicant agrees to the following conditions:
1. A person may not hold or store any tobacco products, whether within or outside of this state, for sale or distribution in this state by or on behalf of a distributor at any place other than a location that has been disclosed to the department pursuant to subsection A of this section. This paragraph does not include a person holding or storing tobacco products by or on behalf of the distributor when the tobacco products are in transit to a distributor or retailer as part of a lawful sale.
2. All tobacco products held or stored, whether within or outside of this state, for sale or distribution in this state by or on behalf of a distributor:
(a) Shall be accessible to the department during normal business hours without a judicial warrant or prior written consent of the distributor.
(b) May not be held or stored at a residential location or in a vehicle.
E. A person who is convicted of an offense described in § 42-1127, subsection E is permanently ineligible to hold a license issued under this section.
F. The department may not issue or renew a license to an applicant and may revoke a license issued under subsection C of this section if any of the following applies:
1. The applicant or licensee owes one thousand dollars or more in delinquent taxes imposed on tobacco products under this chapter that are not under protest or subject to a payment agreement.
2. The department has revoked any license held by the applicant or licensee within the previous two years.
3. The applicant or licensee has been convicted of a crime that relates to stolen or counterfeit cigarettes.
4. The applicant or licensee has imported cigarettes into the United States for sale or distribution in violation of 19 United States Code § 1681a.
5. The applicant or licensee has imported cigarettes into the United States for sale or distribution without fully complying with the federal cigarette labeling and advertising act (P.L. 89-92; 79 Stat. 282; 15 United States Code § 1331 ).
6. The applicant or licensee is in violation of § 13-3711 or § 36-798.06, subsection A.
7. Pursuant to § 44-7111, section 6(a), the applicant or licensee is in violation of § 44-7111, section 3(c).
8. The civil rights of the applicant or licensee have been suspended under § 13-904. An applicant whose civil rights have been suspended will be ineligible to hold a license for a period of five years following the restoration of the applicant's or licensee's civil rights.
G. In addition to any other civil or criminal penalty and except as otherwise provided in this section, the department may suspend or revoke a license issued under subsection C of this section if the person violates any requirement under this title more than two times within a three-year period or fails to otherwise maintain the conditions of licensure in this section.
H. The department shall publish on its website the names of each person who is issued a license under subsection C of this section, including any trade names or business names used by the licensee. The department shall update the published names at least once each month.
I. A person may not apply for or hold a distributor's license if that person does not engage in the activities described in subsection A of this section. In addition to any other applicable penalty, the department may:
1. Revoke the license of any licensee that fails to file a return or report required under this chapter for twelve consecutive months.
2. Cancel the license of any licensee that fails to incur any tax liability under this chapter for twelve consecutive months.
J. Any suspension, revocation, cancellation or denial of a license issued under this section by the department must comply with § 41-1092.11, subsection B.
K. Notwithstanding any other law, for the purposes of subsection F, paragraphs 1 and 2 of this section, § 42-1127, subsection C and § 42-3461, subsection B, if a distributor has listed in its application more than one place of business, any suspension, revocation, cancellation or nonrenewal of the distributor's license shall apply only with effect to remove the place of business or business location at which the activity occurred from the distributor's license. If such a removal occurs, the distributor shall be subject to restrictions that the department prescribes by rule.