Twin City Caps Tobacco Licenses

St. Paul, Minnesota, City Council approved a measure that would not allow for any new licenses to be issued beyond the current number.

June 29, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The St. Paul City Council thinks the city has enough tobacco sellers, and has moved to limit the number of tobacco licenses issued to the current 242, the Pioneer Press reports. Any new convenience store or tobacco shop would get in line to wait for holders of existing licenses to relinquish the rights to a license.

The National Association of Tobacco Outlets objected to the limitation, but no other groups or business owners registered a complaint. Council members touted the change as one that would favor current retailers.

“I’m eager to … get a limit on the number of tobacco licenses issued citywide,” said St. Paul City Council Member Rebecca Noecker. “I think capping at the number we have today is the right move.”

In 2017, the city voted to limit the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored tobacco products to liquor and tobacco shops catering to adults only. This ban will go into effect on November 1.

Convenience stores have long fought against ordinances that prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products because of the detrimental impact on sales. Measures such as this one are popping up all over the country. Other cities, including Oakland, California, and San Francisco have passed laws that outlaw flavored tobacco products. Cities such as Duluth, Minnesota, and Worcester, Massachusetts, have prohibited convenience stores from selling these products.