Justices: Idaho can regulate tribal cig shipments

BOISE, Idaho — State Supreme Court justices bolstered Idaho’s power to regulate cigarettes shipped to Indian-owned businesses in a ruling that touched not only on Native American sovereignty but also public health.

Justices wrote Thursday that Idaho could prevent Canadian-made cigarettes — ones that hadn’t been taxed in the U.S. to help cover tobacco-related illness costs — from being shipped to a Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation-based retailer.

Native Wholesale Supply, a supplier on New York’s Seneca Reservation, argued Idaho had no business interfering with shipments of some 100 million Canadian cigarettes since 2004 to Warpath Inc., the Coeur d’Alene reservation business.

But justices concluded sovereignty claims didn’t apply in this case, because the transaction amounted to an off-reservation activity.

Separately, justices ruled Native Wholesale Supply didn’t have to get an Idaho wholesale permit.

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