SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline) — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced on July 13 that he filed a lawsuit against Grand River Enterprises Six Nations (GRE), a Canadian cigarette manufacturer, for allegedly failing to comply with California laws regarding tobacco sales and illegally selling the product in the state.
“Protecting Californians, especially youth, from cheap, illegal cigarettes is a public health priority,” Becerra said. “Bad actor tobacco companies that don’t follow the law and profit from illegal sales of their addictive product to Californians will be held accountable.”
According to the allegations, GRE does not make annual payments into an escrow fund for California sales, a requirement set forth by the California Health and Safety Code for all cigarette manufacturers that do not participate in the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. GRE purportedly did not make the required escrow deposits while selling hundreds of millions of cigarettes in California between 2014 and 2016. Becerra’s office claims that the company owes the state more than $13 million in unpaid escrow and civil penalties.
Becerra’s office believes that by filing this lawsuit, it is protecting the state and its inhabitants through protecting business competition. His goal is to prevent the sale of cheap, illegal cigarettes in the state.