New questions about whether a mid-Michigan tobacco business is breaking the law. The state sent about 300 notices to businesses around the state telling them that Pall Mall cigarette rolling machines are illegal. But a Lansing store owner says he’s doing nothing wrong. The RYO machine is capable of creating a carton’s worth of cigarettes within 10 minutes.
Patrick Brazil, That’s How We Roll owner: “We rent the machines to costumers, show them how to use them and guide them through the process.”
Brazil owns That’s How We Roll, which has two of the high-speed cigarette rollers. The business opened about a month ago, but the State Treasury Department believes the machines violate the Michigan tobacco products tax act.
Terry Stanton, MI Dept. of Treasury spokesperson: “If they’re utilizing one of these machines, they could be considered a manufacturer and therefore have to register as a manufacturer, and ensure that all the paperwork and what not is taken care of.”
But Brazil has not registered and doesn’t think he has to, because he and his workers don’t make the smokes, customers do.
Patrick Brazil: “On the receipt, it even says ‘machine rental.’”
Brazil says State Treasury workers recently visited his store, but didn’t take away his machines, and until they do, he not only plans to stay in business, he’s also opening another store.
Patrick Brazil: “We are 100 percent legal and we’d like to make sure people know that, because we get people coming in and thinking it is illegal.”
A tobacco tangle both sides admit will likely be decided in a courtroom. The manufacturer of the machines, RYO Machine Rental, has filed a lawsuit against the State Treasury Department. A hearing has been set for June 21st in Ingham County Circuit Court.