With elections just around the corner, the Obama administration has given one last gift to the cigar community domestically and abroad—and that is a complete lift of the ban on Cuban cigars and rum.
As of Monday, you will now be able to bring back as much Cuban rum and as many Cuban cigars as you want when you visit Cuba and return to the US. You also can purchase Cuban cigars in other countries and bring them back. So long as you are importing the cigars and rum for your own personal consumption (and not for retail purposes), you are good to go.
The only restriction still standing is on online sales. Sadly you do still need to travel in person to pick up your cigars. You cannot buy them through a website and have them shipped to you stateside.
This is the latest step in the normalization process announced by US President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro on December 17th, 2014.
On Friday, Obama also charted a path for the future which will hopefully cancel out the economic embargo on Cuba altogether. The goal is to build numerous ties between the US and Cuba so that the fates of the two countries are positively intertwined. This will make it difficult for any future administration to try and reinstate the embargoes and cut off relations.
As you may be aware, some action was already taken in January of 2015 to reduce restrictions on Cuban rum and cigar imports. But previously, you could only bring back $100 worth of cigars and rum in your carry-on. Now there are no restrictions, save for this: “normal limits on duty and tax exemptions will apply.”
Speaking on the change, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said, "These steps have the potential to accelerate constructive change and unlock greater economic opportunity for Cubans and Americans.”
There is no doubt that this will be a game-changing boon to the cigar industry. While the benefits will center on Cuba and the US, there will be a positive ripple effect which stimulates cigar sales throughout the world!