(1) The tax, as levied in section 77-2602, shall be paid and stamps or cigarette tax meter impressions shall be affixed or printed with a cigarette tax meter by the person having possession and ownership of such cigarettes after the same shall have come to rest in this state and intended to be sold or given away in this state. Nothing in sections 77-2601 to 77-2615 shall be construed to require a stamping agent to fix the retail price or to require any retail dealer to sell at any particular price. Subject to such rules and regulations as the Tax Commissioner shall prescribe, tax meter machines may be used when approved by the Tax Commissioner to affix a suitable stamp or impression on each package of cigarettes and cigarettes with a tax meter impression shall be treated as stamped cigarettes for purposes of sections 69-2701 to 69-2711 and 77-2601 to 77-2615. Before any person is issued a license to affix stamps or cigarette tax meter impressions, the person shall make application to become licensed as a stamping agent to the Tax Commissioner on a form provided by the Tax Commissioner to engage in such activity.
(2) Any manufacturer, importer, sales entity affiliate, wholesale dealer, or retail dealer that engages in the business of selling cigarettes may apply to be licensed as a stamping agent in accordance with this section. A license shall be issued by the Tax Commissioner to an applicant upon the applicant's:
(a) Meeting all requirements of sections 69-2701 to 69-2711 and 77-2601 to 77-2615 and rules and regulations pursuant to such sections;
(b) Certifying on a form prescribed by the Tax Commissioner that it will comply with the requirements of section 69-2708; and
(c) In the case of an applicant located outside of the state, designating an agent for service of process in Nebraska, and providing notice thereof as required by section 69-2707, in connection with enforcement of sections 69-2701 to 69-2711 and 77-2601 to 77-2615, and, if approval is given by the Tax Commissioner, the manufacturer, importer, sales entity affiliate, wholesale dealer, or retail dealer shall furnish a corporate surety bond, conditioned to faithfully comply with all the requirements of sections 77-2601 to 77-2615, in a sum not less than ten thousand dollars. Such bond shall be subject to forfeiture if the stamping agent fails to pay the shortfall amount under subsection (1) of section 69-2708.01 unless the stamping agent is excused from liability under subsection (3) of section 69-2708.01.
(3) Nothing in sections 77-2601 to 77-2615 shall prevent the Tax Commissioner from affixing the stamps or meter impressions in lieu of the provisions for affixing stamps and meter impressions by stamping agents as determined by such rules and regulations adopted by the Tax Commissioner.
(4) The Tax Commissioner shall list on its website the names of all persons licensed as stamping agents under this section. Manufacturers, importers, and sales entity affiliates shall be entitled to rely upon the list in selling cigarettes as provided in section 69-2706.
(5) A manufacturer, importer, sales entity affiliate, wholesale dealer, or retail dealer that engages in the business of selling cigarettes and that holds a valid stamping agent license under subsection (1) of this section may apply for a directory license allowing it to purchase or possess in the state cigarettes of a manufacturer or brand family not at the time of purchase listed in the directory for sale into another state if permitted under section 69-2706. A directory license shall be issued by the Tax Commissioner to an applicant upon the applicant's (a) demonstrating that it holds a valid license under subsection (1) of this section and (b) providing a certification by an officer thereof on a form prescribed by the Tax Commissioner that any cigarettes of a manufacturer or brand family not listed in the directory will be purchased or possessed solely for sale or transfer into another state as permitted by section 69-2706. The directory license shall remain in effect for a period of one year.
(6) No directory license may be issued to a person that acted inconsistently with a certification it previously made under subsection (2) of this section.
(7) The Tax Commissioner shall list on its website the names of all persons holding a directory license. Manufacturers, importers, sales entity affiliates, and stamping agents shall be entitled to rely upon the list in selling cigarettes as provided in section 69-2706.