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High Court Invalidates Maine Tobacco Law

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Supreme Court unanimously rejected parts of a Maine law prohibiting Internet tobacco sales to minors. The justices said federal transportation law blocks Maine from regulating the transportation companies that deliver tobacco products directly to consumers.

The state passed a law allowing only Maine-licensed tobacco retailers to accept tobacco deliveries and requiring the delivery service to ask the recipient for a photo ID. Violators face up to $5,000 in fines.

The court said Maine regulates a significant aspect of the carrier's package pick-up and delivery service, forcing them to offer shipping services that differ from what the market would dictate.

"In this way it creates the kind of state-mandated regulation that the federal (law) pre-empts," Justice Breyer wrote.

The court said the federal law does not mention a public health exception.

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