KAYSVILLE — City officials are tightening restrictions on tobacco specialty businesses within city limits.
At a recent city council meeting, officials unanimously approved a new city ordinance to regulate retail tobacco specialty businesses.
City Manager John Thacker said the change in city ordinance was motivated by recent events surrounding the city’s first and only smoke shop, Victor’s Smoke Shop.
The owner of the shop, Adel Al-Mukahel, 44, was arrested in November in a $60,000 spice bust that was connected to the Iraqi Mafia gang, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Spice includes a wide variety of herbal mixtures that can produce mind-altering effects similar to marijuana. The synthetic drug is banned in Utah.
Victor’s Smoke Shop voluntarily closed its doors after threats from Kaysville city to revoke its business license, said Councilman Jared Taylor.
“Recently, the city council dealt with a smoke shop. There was some concern that we needed to tighten the regulations so that we can better deal with those. The council directed that we prepare a proposed ordinance. The city attorney has prepared this (ordinance),” Thacker said.
According to the new code, a tobacco specialty business is defined as a store that has more than 35 percent of its total annual gross receipts resulting from the sale of tobacco products. The establishment would also have food and beverage annual gross receipts totaling less than 45 percent.
The new regulations set standards for location, restricting tobacco shops to at least 1,000 feet from community locations such as churches and schools, 600 feet from other specialty tobacco businesses and 600 feet from residential areas.
In addition, a Bureau of Criminal Investigation background check will be required for every employee of the business. The business will be responsible for funding the background checks, business license and initial inspections.
The new ordinance also provides for ongoing inspections by police.
Kaysville Police Chief Sol Oberg said the new ordinance gives his department the tools it needs to address the issue of businesses selling illegal products under the guise of a tobacco shop.
“As far as what is constitutional and legal and proper according to the Utah code, I think our city attorneys have done a very good job of trying to define what we can do as a city legally and morally and ethically in this,” Oberg said.
“I haven’t seen anything that we could potentially add that would alter this (code) to make it more effective.”