Black Hawk Tobacco Can Sell Untaxed Cigarettes to Tribal Members Only

Black Hawk Tobacco Inc., owned by Frederick Allen McAllister of the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma, can only sell its untaxed, non-fire-safe cigarettes to members of federally recognized California tribes, according to a court decision approved by the California Court of Appeals, reported the The Press-Enterprise.

For years, Black Hawk sold its cigarettes, unlisted in the state’s directory, from four retail stores in Palm Springs and Cathedral City on land owned by tribal members of the Agua Caliente Band of Mission Indians. The non-fire-safe brand violated the California Cigarette Fire Safety and Firefighter Protection Act and the federal Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act, so the state’s Attorney General sought to cease the company’s sales. The tribe’s sovereign immunity did not prevail, since Black Hawk’s owner is not a member of the Agua Caliente tribe, reported The Press-Enterprise.

The Agua Caliente tribe agreed that Black Hawk should stop its illegal sale of cigarettes on the Agua Caliente reservation to anyone not a member of a California federally recognized tribe.

In February 2010, the Agua Caliente tribe demanded all tobacco sellers on the reservation abide by all state laws and regulations. “Black Hawk’s continued illegal sale of cigarettes on the Reservation is contrary to Tribal law,” stated the Agua Caliente tribal council, according to the appellate decision.

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