Selling tobacco out of your home - illegal?

I was discussing this with my brother last night and realized that I didn’t know one way or the other. So, I come to the Teeming Millions for help.

If I were to grow my own tobacco in my backyard, would I be allowed to sell it for profit, or do I need a special license for that sort of thing? If it makes any difference, I live in Virginia.

Problem the first: growing tobacco commercially requires a federal allotment. These are $ to get.

Problem the second. You have to pay federal taxes on the stuff you sell.

Problem the third: most US states require you to have a special state license to sell tobacco products. (At our SuperValue warehouses, we had to have a separate, securely locked area for tobacco products, and only certain employees were allowed to work in there.)

Problem the fourth: most places have zoning which prohibits you from operating a sales business from withing a residential zoned neighborhood.

Hmm, the OP makes me wonder: Do some states, perhaps, allow a small amount (up to some limit) to be grown and sold with few restrictions placed on it, other than making sure the taxes get paid?

Also, could you grow a little for your own purposes? Could you grow as much as like for your own use???

  • Jinx

A horticulturist friend, who is now retired from working in the greenhouses of a local university, used to grow as much tobacco as the university required, without having to worry about paperwork or taxes. Apparently (not being a botanist, I have only his information to go on here), tobacco is a great “starting” plant for first-year botany students to study, since it responds in predictable ways to various experiments.

Note, however, that in this situation, it was being grown for study, not for smoking. The used tobacco plants were basically composted after the students had finished with them.

But if he (and by extension, the university) could grow it for their own purposes without paperwork or a problem, presumably you could too. Only if you sold it commercially would I imagine that you would need certain permits, tax payments, and so on.

This is what I was primarily wondering about. How would one go about getting a license like this?

As for federal taxes on the stuff that’s sold - suppose it was just for personal use. Would there be any kind of taxes then?

For here in Minnesota, see this document from the Department of Revenue, 2nd page, section titled “Getting a License”. (Found by googling on “Minnesota tobacco sales license”. You could probably do the same for your state.)

This is entirely concerned with “selling” of tobacco. (Reasonable, since it’s from the Dept. of Revenue.) Nothing in it discusses tobacco for your personal use. But Minnesota Statutes Chapter 297F says “A tax is imposed upon the use or storage by consumers of tobacco products in this state, and upon such consumers” which seems to me that even those raising their own tobacco not for sale but for their personal use are still required to pay taxes on it.