Eight Denver Metropolis Council members voted to overturn Mayor Michael Hancock’s veto of a ban on flavored tobacco and smoking merchandise, an ordinance that the identical council permitted simply final week. However it wasn’t sufficient.
The edge to overturn a mayoral veto is 9 votes. Councilmembers Kendra Black, Chris Herndon, Kevin Flynn and Jolon Clark voted in assist of the veto on Monday night time, snuffing out the ban nicely earlier than its July 2023 efficient date. Metropolis Council president Stacie Gilmore, who voted in opposition to the ban final week, was absent.
Practically outlawed merchandise together with menthol cigarettes, mint chewing tobacco and bubble gum-flavored vape juice will stay on retailer cabinets in Denver underneath the identical legal guidelines governing the sale of a pack of normal cigarettes, accessible to anybody age 21 and up with legitimate ID.
Clark, who voted for the ban on Dec. 6, switched his place Monday. He and different council members favor specializing in stepping up enforcement efforts to crack down on retailers supplying nicotine merchandise to youngsters fairly than enacting a far-reaching ban on flavored merchandise that will affect even shops complying with legal guidelines.
“We have found a way for 21-plus stores to work for marijuana and I really believe that if we can get the enforcement and the fines and the taking away of licenses there, we can we can make it work for tobacco stores,” Clark stated. “I think we can attack this issue with the scalpel it deserves.”
The ban has been within the works for greater than a 12 months. Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer began pursuing it after her teenage daughter was concerned in a textual content chain with classmates attempting to purchase flavored vaping merchandise on-line.
Sawyer on Monday stated she and her co-sponsor, Councilwoman Debbie Ortega, had been concerned in additional than 100 conferences whereas attempting to craft a narrowly tailor ordinance that will nonetheless accomplish the mission of maintaining addictive merchandise out of the fingers of children.
Ortega on Monday stated she was dissatisfied stepped-up enforcement efforts turned a subject of dialog solely when the invoice was nearing a council vote and never months earlier than when the ordinance was being written.
Hancock and councilmembers who opposed the ban argued that Denver performing unilaterally was meaningless as a result of the town is surrounded by municipalities that enable the sale of flavored merchandise. Of the six Colorado communities with comparable laws, solely Edgewater shares a border with Denver.
“I didn’t see that this bill singling Denver out would do anything to keep nicotine and vaping products from our young people,” Hancock advised The Denver Put up on Friday. He echoed the considerations of some councilmembers that the ordinance would unfairly harm small companies within the metropolis that depend on the sale of flavored vaping merchandise.
Councilman Paul Kashmann additionally reversed his vote Monday night time, going from opposing the ban to supporting overriding the veto. Whereas he empathized with the struggles small enterprise homeowners face when authorities laws change, he stated he’s uninterested in ready for tobacco corporations to develop a conscience and cease concentrating on younger individuals and bored with ready for the federal authorities to step in and ban flavored merchandise.
“My faith is not high that a second effort will produce a bill with as strong a commitment to keeping tobacco out of the hands of children,” he stated.
Hancock has contacted members of the legislature about crafting a statewide ban on flavored merchandise, he stated Friday. Sawyer, dealing with the defeat of her ordinance, stated Monday she too is dedicated to engaged on a statewide measure.