‘Bongs’ law to get third hearing

Changes in language require another public meeting

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FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners has added a third public hearing on proposed changes to the sale of non-traditional tobacco ingestion products after new language was added to the law.

The new law would essentially set up a new license fee for retailers selling these non-traditional tobacco paraphernalia, defined as “bongs” and hookah pipes.

If approved, retail spaces selling these items would be subject to additional annual license fees and would have to keep them out of view from the public.

Keeping bongs and hookahs out of view from the public is the new language added to the law.

Under the proposed law, the sale of cigarette papers, wrappers, blunt wraps and “traditional tobacco pipes (such as brand names Briar and Meerschaum), holders, cigarette rolling machines or tobacco” would be excluded.

The annual license fee, proposed by the county attorney at the June 6 regular Board of Commissioners meeting was $750. But commissioners voted 4-1 to increase the fee to $1,000. Commissioner Jim Boff was the dissenting vote, saying he was comfortable with $750.

“The regulation is going to be subject of a little bit of hit-and-miss,” said County Attorney Ken Jarrard. “If we need to increase it, we will increase it, and if we need to decrease it, we can decrease it.”

There was no opposition during the second public hearing held June 6. The next public hearing will take place July 2.