[Editor's Note: The following information was provided by the Office of Assemblymember Jerry Hill, D-District 19]
Late last week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assemblyman Jerry Hill's legislation, Assembly Bill 1301, which requires the state to suspend and revoke a store's license if they are repeatedly convicted of selling tobacco products to minors. If a store is convicted three times in a five-year-window, its license would be suspended for 45 days. Five convictions in a five-year-window would result in license revocation.
The bill was introduced in 2011 after Hill met with teenagers from the Youth Leadership Institute of San Mateo who encouraged the Assemblyman to help them in their effort to curb sales of tobacco to minors in California’s 37,000 retail locations.
Current law only results in monetary penalties for stores that get caught selling tobacco products to minors. The California Department of Public Health (DPH) conducts sting operations to catch stores that are selling to minors. If they catch and convict a store the penalties range from $400 for a first violation to several thousand dollars for subsequent violations. DPH conducts thousands of stings each year throughout the state resulting in over 600 convictions annually.
AB 1301 allows the Board of Equalization (BOE), the licensing agency to retailers who sell tobacco products, to suspend a retailers’ tobacco sales license if the store is convicted by DPH of selling to a minor three or more times in a five-year period. On the third conviction, the license to sell would be suspended for 45 days, a fourth conviction would result in a 90-day suspension, and the fifth conviction in five years would result in license revocation.