I know there have been a couple of previous threads on this subject, but I think it bears revisiting, and repeatedly, because anyone who claims to care about the rule of law should be absolutely outraged by it.
For those who don’t know, a little over two years ago, California Deputy Attorney General Jeanne Finberg decided, all on her own and unsupported by any legal statute, that it was illegal to sell non-tobacco-flavored cartomizers by mail order in the state of California. She began sending out cease-and-desist orders to all the major national suppliers (Blu, Green smoke, V2, etc.), who, in a troubling display of gutlessness and disregard for the interests of their customers, simply rolled over and gave in to the threat, plainly illegal though it was and still is. The rationale behind the order, of course, was that any non-tobacco flavor is a blatant attempt to target children, since everybody knows that the day you turn 18, you permanently stop liking things that taste good.
Ms. Feinberg’s policy, even if it were legal, fails the common sense laugh test by a number of different criteria. First, it applies only to pre-filled cartomizers and only to mail order. You can go to any brick-and-mortar vape shop in California and buy fruit-flavored cartos to your heart’s content. Conversely, you can buy all the fruit-flavored e-juice you want by mail order, as long as it’s in a bottle.
Second, it’s already illegal for minors to buy e-cigs or any of their components, either by retail or mail order, and California law requires age verification for all online purchases of any product containing nicotine or designed to facilitate the delivery of nicotine.
In other words, Ms. Finberg’s lone-wolf policy is not only prima facie illegal, but it’s also redundant and superfluous. There is no possible scenario where it could "protect" any child from anything; the only practical result is that adult consumers (also known as "voters" and "taxpayers") who might want to order a pack of coffee-flavored cartomizers are punished and unduly inconvenienced for no possible good reason whatsoever.
California has no shortage of laws that are poorly reasoned, nonsensical, absurd, counterproductive, or all of the above. Most of them, however, were enacted through an actual legislative process as prescribed by law. They were not dreamed up by a single bureaucrat who chose to appoint herself the sole arbiter of what’s legal and what isn’t.
Here’s the key question as I see it: Just how dangerous a precedent does it set that this has been going on for two years without any meaningful legal challenge from anyone? It’s not my habit to use words like "fascism" in a flippant manner, but what other word are we supposed to use when government officials are allowed to make and enforce laws off the top of their heads with apparently total impunity? It’s easy to blow the whole thing off and say "Pfft, big deal, it’s just some e-cig cartridges," but we’re talking about an open and brazen subversion of both the democratic process and the rule of law. Even if I didn’t know a vaper from a viper, this would scare the living bejeezus out of me.