YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The nearly $1 billion fireworks industry will be at its peak this week, and with changes in state laws, those numbers are expected to grow.
Pennsylvania made some big changes. In 2017, legislation was passed that allowed residents to purchase aerial fireworks made for consumers like bottle rockets, roman candles and other “consumer grade” fireworks.
The fireworks must contain less than 50 milligrams of explosive material. The expansion includes products that were previously only available to out-of-state residents.
Anyone buying fireworks in Pennsylvania must be 18 years old, and the devices can only be set off under the following conditions: (Source: Pennsylvania State Police)
- They cannot be ignited or discharged on a public or private property without express permission of the property owner.
- They cannot be discharged from or within a motor vehicle or building.
- They cannot be discharged toward a motor vehicle or building.
- They cannot be discharged within 150 feet of an occupied structure, whether or not a person is actually present.
- They cannot be discharged while the person is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or another drug.
(Also, it is recommended that you check with your local municipality, as you may also be subject to applicable local ordinances.)
In Ohio, all types of fireworks have been for sale for decades but not just anyone can set off the large ones.
If you don’t have a permit, you have to stick to ground items and novelties like sparklers, party poppers or snakes and snaps.
“In Ohio, the rules really haven’t changed. Ohioans can buy all the fireworks they want but are not permitted to use it in the state without a permit. Pennsylvania has changed 180 degrees. Pennsylvanians are permitted to buy what they want and use what they want,” said William Weimer, vice president of Phantom Fireworks.
About 95% of fireworks are produced in China. And although President Trump has agreed to hold off on proposed tariffs in an effort to resume trade talks, any additional tax could increase prices next year, Weimer said.