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New laws for tobacco pipes, beer
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Forsyth County News

Ordinances passed in Forsyth County on Tuesday welcome in breweries and put bong pipes out of sight.

The county commission voted 4-0, with Cindy Jones Mills absent, to adopt a unique code regulating “non-traditional” tobacco pipes, as well as a simple ordinance permitting breweries.

The new tobacco code requires stores to obtain a $1,000 license from the county to sell bong pipes, hookahs or other similar smoking devices.

The ordinance also states that such paraphernalia be shielded from public view.

For months, commissioners had discussed possible ways to address concerns with the sale of nontraditional smoking devices and perceived proliferation of businesses offering the pipes.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard explained during earlier meetings that the state prohibits the sale of tobacco pipes to minors — and drug paraphernalia in general — so Forsyth would have to get creative in finding other ways to address the issue.

That’s exactly what the commission did as it instituted what Jarrard called a “never been in existence permitting process” for non-traditional smoking devices, as defined in the code.

The public policy concern that sparked the ordinance was supported by studies Jarrard previously presented.

Those findings indicated that youth who smoke tobacco from water pipes are more likely to use illegal drugs, and younger age groups are more likely to think tobacco smoking is less harmful from a hookah.

The commission added the provision to shield the products from view after the first of three public hearings in May.

At the same time, it deleted a provision requiring shop owners keep a list of names and address of people who buy the products.

Chairman Pete Amos thanked Jarrard and staff for their work on creating the unique ordinance.

“We’ve been working on this for a long time,” Amos said.

The commission also approved a more common code for the state, to allow breweries in the county under the same regulations as Georgia law.

Jarrard said requests to add a local license came from people hoping to open breweries in Forsyth who could not obtain a state permit without first getting county permission.

The license will cost $1,000, and breweries will be permitted only in industrial zonings.