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Minimum age to buy tobacco in Maryland will go to 21 under law being signed by Hogan

Starting in October, you’ll need to be 21 to buy tobacco and nicotine products in Maryland, under a bill that Gov. Larry Hogan plans to sign into law on Monday.

The law is intended to cut down on the access that teenagers have to cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other tobacco and nicotine products. It contains a key exception: People age 18 to 20 with a military identification can still buy tobacco and nicotine products.

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The bill raising the age for tobacco purchases is among more than 180 bills that Hogan will sign into law on Monday, alongside Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne Jones.

Other bills to be signed include:

» Adding a question to Maryland tax forms to identify people without health insurance who may be eligible for Medicaid or subsidies to buy private insurance.

» Expanding Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) programs, which allow high school students to graduate with both a diploma and an associate’s degree.

» Creating enhanced penalties for those convicted of crimes of violence against pregnant woman, a measure known as Laura and Reid’s Law, named for murdered Howard County teacher Laura Wallen, who was pregnant with a child she planned to name Reid.

» Creating a Rape Kit Testing Grant Fund to help police pay to test evidence from rape kits administered to sexual assault victims. Many jurisdictions have a backlog of untested rape kits.

» Limiting the number of medical cannabis dispensaries that one company can own to four.

The governor has until May 28 to take action on the hundreds of bills passed by the General Assembly. He can veto them, sign them into law or allow them to become law without his signature.

In addition to Monday’s bill-signing ceremony, Hogan has scheduled another ceremony on May 23.

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