We get a lot of questions around the PuroTrader office about the legalities of buying Cuban cigars within the U.S. Can you or can't you? Given the massive and near constant changes in the Cuban Trade Embargo, what's the effect on American smokers?
On December 14th, 2015 the Obama Administration began the slow unwinding of the commercial, economic, and financial embargo imposed by the United States on Cuba. Americans returning from the island of Cuba could return with up to $100 in tobacco and alcohol combined. While this was a move in the right direction, it probably won't help you much.
Under the current standing of the now loosened embargo, American cigar aficionados can legally purchase Cuban cigars overseas for “personal consumption”. The cigars no longer need to be bought and returned from Cuba directly, you can now purchase Cuban product from anywhere outside of the U.S. But, if you purchase more than $800 dollars worth of Cuban cigars you will have to pay a duty tax.
Cuban cigars can not legally be purchased within the United States as of yet. There are a host of legal issues that need to be addressed prior to that release. SA Habanos is the controlling government arm for all Cuban tobacco products. SA Habanos partnered with Imperial Tobacco in February 2008, and will have to officially license a wholesale distributor. SA Habanos will also need to create a distribution network and La Casa del Habanos stores.
In summary, can you buy Cuban cigars now? Not in the U.S. just yet, but our sense is that the within the next few years, Cuban cigars will be widely available in the U.S. Stay patient traders!