No Sampling Allowed?

February 18, 2014 at 11:09 pm Leave a comment

By Andrew Richter

Cities just don’t have enough rules and regulations do they? Here is Brooklyn Center;

The Brooklyn Center City Council unanimously passed a resolution to prohibit the sampling of tobacco products in licensed stores. The council voted 5-0 on Monday, Feb. 10, to update city licensing regulations for tobacco shops, adopting an ordinance banning such establishments from allowing customers to sample any tobacco products inside the premises before purchase.

The subject was brought up in a December 2013 council meeting, when a loophole was discovered in the then-current tobacco licensing ordinance allowing sampling in shops. The Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act had allowed for the sampling of tobacco products in licensed stores, though the council found that the MCIAA never included an actual definition of “sampling” in the its language.

Section 144.4167, subdivision 4 of the Minnesota State Statutes permits sampling in licensed shops, though ordinances can be passed on a city-wide scale that are more restrictive than a state ordinance. City Manager Curt Boganey sent a memorandum to the council on Jan. 8 to consider approval of a moratorium on sampling.

Councilmember Kris Lawrence-Anderson expressed concerns that the redevelopment of certain parts of Brooklyn Center, especially Shingle Creek Crossing, would attract tobacco and related “vaping” businesses considered undesirable in terms of the city’s quality and image.

Yeah why would you want to attract business? Better to shut people out right dummy? By the way I hate hyphenated names…..

The new city code, designated Section 23-110, will restrict the on-site sampling of tobacco products effective March 20. Brooklyn Center will become the 30th city in Minnesota that enforces such prohibition, and anti-tobacco proponents such as Betsy Brock, research director for the Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota, hail this as a step in the right direction.

“It was a great decision,” said Brock. “The city council’s really taking the right stand trying to keep the community healthy.”

Oh yeah, a preventing a smoker sampling smoke in smoke shop is such a great step. Why don’t you throw in a bike path so they can be healthier by biking home?

Brock also hopes that the ordinance will influence future decisions regarding tobacco usage. “It looks like they’re going to consider some additional updates to their ordinance,” said Brock. “There were some changes to state law in 2010 around tobacco definitions, so they’re going to try to address some of those.”

Later in the evening, further discussion was taken in an Economic Development Authority work session in regards to the increasing ubiquitousness of electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes,” in Brooklyn Center. A city-commissioned study regarding the devices, which deliver vaporized liquid nicotine into the user’s body by way of battery operation rather than combustible tobacco material, found that there was little evidence regarding the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes. As of February, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate e-cigarettes.

According to a presentation by Cmdr. Tim Gannon of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, there has been no visible increase in youth possession of e-cigarettes. Nonetheless, local law enforcement has shown concern over the alleged marketing of the devices to youth, based on the appeal of artificial “flavoring,” celebrity endorsements and the overall message of the devices being “safer” than traditional cigarettes.

So there’s no increase in youth possession but we have to increase government anyway!

Gannon’s study stated that out of 24 Brooklyn Center businesses with tobacco licenses, eight such businesses failed unannounced compliance checks in regards to preventing tobacco and tobacco-related product sales to minors, though there were no repeat failures. This year will see the mandatory compliance checks rise from three to five per year.

None of that has anything to do with e-cigarettes.

Despite Gannon’s lack of empirical evidence on the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes, the potential to abuse the device’s delivery system with illegal substances gave him cause for worry. According to Gannon, drug task force officers have seen evidence of e-cigarettes being filled with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-heavy marijuana oil for recreational use.

“Marijuana oil is 60 to 70 percent THC,” said Gannon. “What we see in a normal marijuana joint is 10 to 30 percent THC. So you’re looking at a much more potent sample of marijuana that can be put in these e-cigarettes.”

City council members, such as Mayor Tim Willson, were hopeful of future ordinances restricting e-cigarette “vaping” in public places and preventing consumption by minors. “I would certainly like to see these devices handled as tobacco products … along with restrictions for youth,” said Willson. “Vaping in public areas, that’s the same to me as smoking, I don’t see where there’s much difference.”

There’s huge difference you jackass! Vaping is not the same as blowing smoke! Got a brain in your head?

However, Councilmember Dan Ryan requested more evidence on the dangers of secondhand vapor inhalation become available before making such ordinances official, saying that the council was “straying into speculation” at that point.

Second hand vapers???? Bad breath is more dangerous!

The council agreed to return to future meetings with draft ordinance resolutions for further discussion. The next Brooklyn Center City Council meeting will be at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, in the City Hall Council Chambers.




Entry filed under: Brooklyn Center, City Government, Community, Environment, Safety. Tags: , , , .

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