Possession, sale, etc., of unstamped cigarettes; penalty; prima facie evidence; presumptions
Section 34. Whoever, not being a licensed transportation company or a person specifically authorized by the commissioner, holds for sale, offers for sale, sells, possesses with intent to sell, or otherwise disposes of cigarettes within the commonwealth, unless each individual package containing said cigarettes has affixed thereto a Massachusetts stamp showing that said excise has been paid, shall be punished by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars or by imprisonment in state prison for not more than five years, or both; provided, however, that a violation involving fewer than twelve thousand cigarettes, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.
The absence of such stamp on any package containing said cigarettes which is held for sale, possessed with intent to sell, offered for sale, sold or otherwise disposed of within the commonwealth shall be prima facie evidence that said excise has not been paid thereon. If such a stamp on a package of cigarettes is stained or smudged and its characteristics are so blurred, obscured or indistinct that it cannot be distinguished as a Massachusetts excise stamp, it shall be presumed that the said excise has not been paid with respect to said package of cigarettes. It shall be presumed that all sales of cigarettes are subject to the said excise until the contrary is established, and the burden of proof that a sale is not taxable shall be upon the vendor.
If any cigarettes are found within the commonwealth in the place of business of any licensee, other than a stamper or such other licensee as the commissioner may authorize, without the stamp affixed thereto, it shall be prima facie evidence that such licensee in whose place of business said cigarettes were found possessed said unstamped cigarettes with the intent to sell the same.
Except as otherwise provided, the possession of cigarettes in unstamped packages by any person, other than a stamper or a licensee, shall be prima facie evidence that such person possessed said unstamped cigarettes with the intent to sell the same.
In addition to other remedies provided by law, the commissioner may assess a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for each violation of this section.
The commissioner shall promulgate regulations to implement and enforce this section.