ALCOHOL & TOBACCO COMMISSION

ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS


In January 2021, the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission was authorized by the General Assembly (Chapter 12, Acts of 2019; Chapters 359 & 360, Acts of 2020; Code Alcoholic Beverages Article, secs. 1-301 through 1-310).

By resource sharing and serving as an information clearinghouse, the Commission educates the public on matters relating to recent increases in alcohol content for popular beer and other beverages; the proper limits of drinking for adults, and adverse consequences of surpassing those limits; and parental or adult responsibility for serving alcohol to underage youth. The Commission also provides similar information relating to smoking, vaping, tobacco, other tobacco products, and electronic nicotine delivery systems. In addition, subject to federal approval, the Commission is to ensure that all alcoholic beverages sold in the State with an alcohol content exceeding 4.5% by volume bear a large and conspicuous label indicating the percentage of alcohol content. Moreover, the Commission is to study the operation and administration of similar laws in other states and countries.

Meeting monthly, the Commission consists of five members appointed by the Governor with Senate advice and consent. The Secretary of Health and the Secretary of State Police may serve ex officio as nonvoting members. The Executive Director is chosen by the Governor with Senate advice and consent.


FIELD ENFORCEMENT DIVISION

Within the Office of Maryland Comptroller, the Field Enforcement Division originated in July 1999, when the State License Bureau merged with the Investigative Services Unit of the Compliance Division (including Motor Fuel Laboratory). By further reorganization in January 2004, the Field Enforcement Division merged with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division to create the Regulatory and Enforcement Division. In Oct. 2005, the Motor Fuel Tax Bureau also was added to the Division. Through restructuring in June 2007, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Bureau and Motor Fuel Tax Bureau merged to form their own division, and the Regulatory and Enforcement Division again became the Field Enforcement Division. In January 2021, the Field Enforcement Division transferred to the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (Chapter 12, Acts of 2019; Chapters 359 & 360, Acts of 2020; Code Alcoholic Beverages Article, secs. 1-313).

Staffed by both sworn police officers and civilian personnel, the Field Enforcement Division is responsible for the enforcement of Marylandís laws related to the sale, manufacture, transportation, storage, and importation of alcohol, tobacco, and electronic smoking device products within the State. It also is responsible for regulatory duties associated with the alcohol, tobacco and electronic smoking device industries, to include the issuance of licenses and permits, and ensure that appropriate trade practices are followed.

The Division oversees two Bureaus: Field Operations, and Regulatory and Administrative Services.


LEGAL & LEGISLATIVE DIVISION

The Legal and Legislative Division was created by the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission in January 2022.

All legal and legislative duties associated with the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission are overseen by the Division. Analysis of the Stateís more complex alcohol and tobacco laws and regulations; the Federal code, regulations and other statutes; and local ordinances is provided by the Division.

The Division advises and guides the Executive Director, the Field Enforcement Division Director, other agency personnel, State agencies, the general public, licensees, industry representatives, elected officials, and local licensing boards to assure proper administration and compliance with the Stateís alcohol and tobacco laws and regulations. In addition, the Division manages the administrative hearing dockets concerning administrative cases brought against licensees for violations of the alcoholic beverage and tobacco laws and regulations of the State.

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