City leaders tighten restrictions on tobacco shops - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

City leaders tighten restrictions on tobacco shops

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A new city ordinance lays out tighter restrictions on tobacco shops. City leaders in Greenville passed the new rules Thursday night.

At the city council meeting, several council members told 9 On Your Side they want the shops gone.

"These stores are awful, they're terrible," said mayor pro-tem Rose Glover.

More and more tobacco shops are popping up around the city.

"I think the general consensus of the council is we'd rather not have tobacco shops in the city limits," said council member Max Joyner.

Now, city leaders are putting tighter restrictions on any new tobacco businesses that may roll in.

"Right now they're in a lot of neighborhoods and usually low income neighborhoods and that's something council is not comfortable with," said Joyner.

City staff divided the stores into to two main groups:

Class 1 shops: businesses that sell mostly tobacco products. These shops will have to be 500 ft. from any other class 1 shop or school.

Class 2 shops: businesses that sell mostly tobacco products in addition to other smoking devices like hookah pipes, bowls, bongs, etc. These shops will have to stay ½ mile away from any other tobacco shop and at least 500 ft. away from any school, church, park, or single or multi-family resident.

"Bongs and bowls or whatever they call those things are not used for smoking tobacco we know this," said council member Dennis Mitchell, "they may not be conducting illegal activity but I think they cater to illegal activity."

"We don't want them near neighborhoods we don't want them near schools, don't want them near churches," said Joyner.

Businesses that are already in place will be grandfathered in and will not have to abide by these new rules.

But, council is considering a possible ordinance that would require them to follow suit, which could shut down many of the more than a dozens stores.

Businesses have seen these rules before. Sweepstakes and private clubs have similar restrictions.

City council would have to have another vote and public comment session if they want to apply these new rules to existing shops.

You can see all the details here.

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