Business | Law

California court affirms injunction against Indian tobacco sales

Only members of federally recognized tribes can buy tax-free cigarettes at Indian smoke shops, the California Court of Appeals ruled.

Frederick Allen McAllister, a member of the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma, operates four smoke shops on allotted land. The state sued him for selling cigarettes without tax stamps and for allegedly violating state and federal laws.

A judge granted the state an injunction that barred the sale of tobacco to non-Indians. The Fourth Appellate District affirmed in an unpublished decision on July 13.

"As we have explained, the United States Supreme Court has confirmed a state’s authority to tax and regulate cigarette sales to non-Indians," the decision stated.

McAllister argued that the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is the sole regulator of tobacco sales on allotted land. The tribe has said McAllister is operating his smoke shops in violation of tribal law.

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, People v. Black Hawk Tobacco.

Get the Story:
Only tribe members can buy untaxed cigarettes (The Riverside Press-Enterprise 8/10)
C.A. Upholds Injunction Barring Tobacco Sales on Tribal Land to Non-Indians (The Metropolitan News-Enterprise 8/9)

California Court of Appeals Decision:
People v. Black Hawk Tobacco (July 13, 2011)

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