Juul Labs Inc. dropped its support for a referendum aimed at overturning Livermore’s ban on the sale of vaping products.
The Livermore City Council in June passed an ordinance banning sales of e-cigarettes and vaping products. The ban was set to go into effect in January. Following Livermore’s ban, the large San Francisco company spearheaded a signature gathering campaign that forced a Livermore referendum to go before voters in March.
According to reports, Barry Grace, the Livermore resident who started the petition backed by Juul, signed a note that was sent to the City Clerk on Thursday, announcing that the company was withdrawing the referendum. Telephone calls and emails to the Livermore Clerk’s office were not returned as of press time. However, Councilman Bob Carling confirmed that indeed, the referendum has been withdrawn. It will not be on the ballot in March.
San Francisco attorney James R. Sutton, who is listed on campaign disclosure forms as an officer with the Coalition for Reasonable Vaping Regulation in Livermore, a political action committee bankrolled by Juul, did not return calls seeking comment.
The question of whether Juul would continue to support the referendum in Livermore arose earlier this month when Juul withdrew support for a comparable referendum in San Francisco.
The San Francisco referendum, called Proposition C, is intended to overturn that city’s ban on sales of e-cigarettes and vaping products starting in January.
According to the Associated Press, Juul had spent nearly $19 million on the San Francisco referendum before it ended financial support, following top-level managerial changes. AP reported that Juul was that referendum’s only financial supporter.