Forsyth County to define “non-traditional” tobacco products

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FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — A law to regulate licenses for places that sell glass pipes and hookahs in Forsyth County will move forward to the public hearing process, in essence asking businesses to also keep a written registry of anyone who purchases these “non-traditional” items.

In order to regulate places that sell “non-traditional” tobacco products, Forsyth County Commissioners want to institute an annual license fee, which has not been determined, by Dec. 1, 2013. The cost of the fee will be based on what it would cost to enforce the law administratively.

In addition, every licensee “shall maintain a written register of the name and address of every customer who purchases any item of non-traditional paraphernalia.”

The “bongs” and hookahs have long been associated with marijuana and synthetic marijuana use, said County Attorney Ken Jarrard.

“We do have law enforcement in the community, who are willing to come to a public hearing and say, ‘When they do a drug bust or drug arrest, these are the sorts of materials they find at the scene,’” Jarrard said.

Jarrard expects the county will get sued on this new regulation, but he’s confident that with law enforcement support, the new law will stand.

“We have to come up with a reason as to why we are regulating this as compared to cigarettes,” Jarrard told Commissioners April 9. “We’re making a distinction.”

The law would exclude cigarette papers, blunt wraps and traditional tobacco pipes. It’s unlikely the law would target cigar shops, Jarrard said.

This article was published in the Forsyth Herald April 17, 2013 edition