Richmond targets retailers selling vaping devices, products

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Richmond targets retailers selling vaping devices, products
Photo by Renz Macorol via Pexels.

A “proliferation” of tobacco shops in Richmond, including smoke shops that sell vaporizer devices and products, could prompt a temporary ban on new tobacco retailers in the city.

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Richmond City Council will consider implementing a 45-day moratorium to enable city staff to consider possible new regulations and penalties on tobacco retailers.

The action comes after numerous complaints were made in recent months about the increased number of smoke shops and tobacco retailers throughout the city, many of which are operating without a required tobacco retailers license, according to the city proposal, which was introduced by Mayor Eduardo Martinez, Vice Mayor Claudia Jimenez and Councilmember Melvin Willis.

Smoke shops are not allowed to operate in Richmond, but some have reportedly been established within city limits.

During the 45-day moratorium, city staff recommends revising the permitting process to make tobacco retailer licenses more difficult to obtain, and to increase penalties for those breaking the rules.

Tobacco retailer license holders must renew their licenses annually. During the moratorium, existing retailers would be permitted to apply for renewals of licenses.

A copy of the proposed urgency ordinance can be read here.