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Wholesaler vs. Retailer

Anyone who deals with tobacco products in Tennessee, other than a retailer, must obtain a license. It is important to determine which classification your business actually best fits within before you obtain your license..

If you receive, purchase, or sell tobacco products as a secondary wholesaler and acquire only pre-stamped cigarettes and/or other tobacco products on which the tax has been previously paid, but do not sell to the ultimate consumer, you need a tobacco distributor’s license.  Note, if you obtain a distributor license, you cannot also sell to consumers as a retailer.

If you maintain wholesale facilities in one or more permanent locations; if you are in the business of receiving, storing, purchasing, selling at wholesale, importing unstamped tobacco products, or otherwise handling tobacco products for resale at a wholesale price; and if you sell only to other licensed wholesalers and distributors or retailers but not to the ultimate consumer, you need a wholesale dealer & jobber license. This license also requires a minimum $2,000 bond.  Note, if you obtain a wholesaler license, you cannot also sell to consumers as a retailer.

In Tennessee you cannot be both a wholesaler/distributor and a retailer of tobacco products. See Important Notice 13-10