(a) Any person who, while not appointed as a distributor of tobacco products pursuant to the provisions of article twenty of this chapter, imports or causes to be imported into the state more than fifty cigars or more than one pound of tobacco, for sale within the state, or produces, manufactures or compounds tobacco products within the state shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars or by a term of imprisonment not to exceed thirty days. If, within any ninety day period, one thousand or more cigars or five hundred pounds or more of tobacco are imported or caused to be imported into the state for sale within the state or are produced, manufactured or compounded within the state by any person while not appointed as a distributor of tobacco products, such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Provided further, that any person who has twice been convicted under this section shall be guilty of a class E felony for any subsequent violation of this section, regardless of the amount of tobacco products involved in such violation.
(b) For purposes of this section, the possession or transportation within this state by any person, other than a tobacco products distributor appointed by the commissioner of taxation and finance, at any one time of seven hundred fifty or more cigars or fifteen pounds or more of tobacco shall be presumptive evidence that such tobacco products are possessed or transported for the purpose of sale and are subject to the tax imposed by section four hundred seventy-one-b of this chapter. With respect to such possession or transportation, any provisions of article twenty of this chapter providing for a time period during which the tax imposed by such article may be paid shall not apply.
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