The Milton City Council voted Monday night to discourage new vape shops from opening in the rural city of 40,000 in northern Fulton County.
The City Council amended its zoning code to block any businesses opening that have “alternative nicotine products or vape juice” as more than 25 percent of its retail sales. That includes vaporized e-cigarette products.
Before the unanimous vote, Councilwoman Laura Bentley said that the shops attract crime and promote drug use among teens and others.
Bentley said she wanted to avoid being like Johns Creek, where “you will see a vape shop on every corner.”
Milton banned synthetic alternatives to marijuana and opiates in January after seeing it send local teens to hospitals, like in October when an Alpharetta student became unconscious after vaping “Green Mist” while at King’s Ridge Christian School. Reports indicate the product was purchased from a Milton vape shop.
Councilman Matt Kunz said the move was to further rid the city of substances with a level of “unsavoriness.”
On Tuesday, city spokeswoman Shannon Ferguson said: “These are complementary actions and ordinances that work together to further reduce access to these harmful, unregulated products. Both synthetic marijuana and opiate substitutes are often distributed via vape shops and gas stations.”
The substances have been tough to ban statewide as manufacturers switch up formulas to be just within the bounds of the written law. Milton discussed such a ban Monday, but the city attorney warned against it saying that would be difficult to uphold.
“By addressing it from both a product and distribution standpoint, we are better positioned to positively impact the ease of access by our local youth,” Ferguson said.
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