Polk Street sees tougher smoke shop controls

It just got a lot tougher to open a business along Polk Street if it plans to sell any tobacco smoking paraphernalia items.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved legislation Tuesday that requires any business that wants to sell tobacco smoking devices along Polk Street to obtain a special permit. The permit could be appealed to the Board of Supervisors, who could vote to reject it.

The targeted businesses sell items such as hookahs and hand or water pipes, commonly used to smoke marijuana, along with other products.  Selling drug paraphernalia is against the law, but the pipes are considered legal because they are also said to be used to smoke tobacco products.

The legislation was introduced by board president David Chiu. It follows an effort led by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi to ban new head shops on Haight Street. Chiu’s legislation established interim zoning changes for a year so that more permanent controls can be developed.

 

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