A. No person shall engage in the business of selling or dealing in tobacco products as a distributor in the Commonwealth without first having received a separate license from the Department for each location or place of business. Each application for a distributor’s license shall be accompanied by a fee to be prescribed by the Department. Every application for such license shall be made on a form prescribed by the Department and the following information shall be provided on the application:
1. The name and address of the applicant. If the applicant is a firm, partnership or association, the name and address of each of its members shall be provided. If the applicant is a corporation, the name and address of each of its principal officers shall be provided;
B. A person outside the Commonwealth who ships or transports tobacco products to retailers in the Commonwealth, to be sold by those retailers, may make application for license as a distributor, be granted such a license by the Department, and thereafter be subject to all the provisions of this article. Once a license is granted pursuant to this section, such person shall be entitled to act as a licensed distributor and, unless such person maintains a registered agent pursuant to Chapter 9, 10, 12 or 14 of Title 13.1 or Chapter 2.1 or 2.2 of Title 50, shall be deemed to have appointed the Clerk of the State Corporation Commission as the person’s agent for the purpose of service of process relating to any matter or issue involving the person and arising under the provisions of this article.The Department shall conduct a background investigation, to include a Virginia Criminal History Records search, and fingerprints of the applicant, or the responsible principals, managers, and other persons engaged in handling tobacco products at the licensable locations, that shall be submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation if the Department deems a National Criminal Records search necessary, on applicants for licensure as tobacco products distributors. The Department may refuse to issue a distributor’s license or may suspend, revoke or refuse to renew a distributor’s license issued to any person, partnership, corporation, limited liability company or business trust, if it determines that the principals, managers, and other persons engaged in handling tobacco products at the licensable location of the applicant have been (i) found guilty of any fraud or misrepresentation in any connection; (ii) convicted of robbery, extortion, burglary, larceny, embezzlement, fraudulent conversion, gambling, perjury, bribery, treason, or racketeering; or (iii) convicted of a felony. Anyone who knowingly and willfully falsifies, conceals or misrepresents a material fact or knowingly and willfully makes a false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation in any application for a distributor’s license to the Department, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The Department may establish an application or renewal fee not to exceed $ 750 to be retained by the Department to be applied to the administrative and other costs of processing distributor’s license applications, conducting background investigations and issuing distributor’s licenses. Any amount collected pursuant to this section in excess of such costs as of June 30 in even numbered years shall be reported to the State Treasurer and deposited into the state treasury.
C. Upon receipt of an application in proper form and payment of the required license fee, the Department shall, unless otherwise provided by this article, issue to the applicant a license, which shall permit the licensee to engage in business as a distributor at the place of business shown on the license. Each license, or a copy thereof, shall be prominently displayed on the premises covered by the license. No license shall be transferable to any other person. Distributor’s licenses issued pursuant to this section shall be valid for a period of three years from the date of issue unless revoked by the Department in the manner provided herein. The Department may at any time revoke the license issued to any distributor who is found guilty of violating or noncompliance with any of the provisions of this chapter, or any of the rules of the Department adopted and promulgated under authority of this chapter.
D. The Department shall compile and maintain a current list of licensed distributors. The list shall be updated on a monthly basis, and published on the Department’s official Internet website, available to any interested party.
2005, c. 71.