E-liquid maker withdraws application after security firm questioned

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Indiana is back to having just six approved e-liquid manufacturers to serve the the state’s vaping industry.

California-based Cali Co-Packing LLC told IBJ on Tuesday evening that it has decided to withdraw its application from the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission following media reports that the company's chosen security firm didn’t appear to meet a new state law’s stringent requirements.

“We submitted the application in the hopes of offering your people in the state of Indiana another option,” Cali Co-Packing owner Ivan Loochkartt said in an email. "Unfortunately, we’ve realized that it’s no longer important for us to have this certification.”

IBJ reported Tuesday that Cali Co-Packing’s chosen security firm—Lock-Up Inc. of Pasadena, Calif.—didn’t have several required credentials, including certifications from the International Door Association’s certifying affiliate group and the Door and Hardware Institute. It also didn’t appear to be certified with a national locksmith group that appeared on the application.

Loochkartt said it learned from IBJ’s article that the security firm did not meet the requirements.

The state commission unanimously approved the application on June 30, the last day for new e-liquid manufacturing permits to be approved before a controversial state law went into effect that restricts the industry.

The ATC did not respond to questions about whether the group had formally withdrawn its application—or how it was approved in the first place—but a spokeswoman told IBJ that the permit is under investigation.

"The Cali-Co LLC has been notified that their permit is under investigation and that the chairman has ordered a stay on the issuance of that permit until the results of the investigation have been reported to the commission,” ATC spokeswoman Heather Lynch told IBJ. "The commission has the authority to revoke the permit."

Critics say Cali Co-Packing LLC was approved hastily by the ATC because the agency was under fire from accusations that it had allowed a monopoly in the industry since the other six approved manufacturers all use the same security firm, Lafayette-based Mulhaupt’s Inc.

The law essentially gives Mulhaupt’s veto power over the industry since all manufacturers approved by the state had to have a a five-year contract with a security firm, but it appeared that Mulhaupt’s was the only security firm in the country to meet the requirements. 

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