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Forsyth County Board of Commission talks vape ordinance, distillery rules

At a Forsyth County Commission work session this week, commissioners discussed changes to the vape and non-traditional tobacco ordinance, the annexation of a popular business by the city of Cumming and changes to distillery rules in the county.

All votes are 5-0 unless otherwise noted.

 Vape ordinance change

Commissioners heard a presentation from County Attorney Ken Jarrard and voted to move ahead with changes to the county’s vape and non-traditional tobacco juice which would increase violations for “unregulated marijuana substitutes,” often called K2 or spice, and unregulated steroids and opioids.

Jarrard said the marijuana substitutes are illegal under state law but change quickly to stay a step ahead of state regulation.

“The chemical composition of what they spray on – basically what is chopped up grass in many instances that can then get smoked or whatever – is always changing, so it’s difficult for whatever is made illegal under state law to keep up with the chemists as they come up with different compounds to put on this material,” Jarrard said.

He said the change would “make illegal anything that the state of Georgia has not caught up with yet.”

District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills said the steroid substitutes, which can reportedly be purchased at some gas stations, were popular with male high school students.

Those found to be selling the products would be prosecuted, and those that also sell alcohol would receive a strike against that license.

The change would increase the cost for the vape and non-traditional tobacco license to $1,000 for vendors, like vape shops, where the products are the primary business and $750 for stores like gas stations, in which vape products are not the main product.

Before commissioners can take final action, a public hearing will be held at an upcoming county meeting.

 City Annexation

A popular county business will likely soon be part of the city of Cumming.

Commissioners approved sending a letter of no rejection to the city regarding the annexation of about 2.9 acres on Hutchinson Road at Larry Mulkey Memorial Road, the property of Automation Direct.

Jarrard said the county did not have “a valid basis to reject” the request.

Distillery rules changed

It appears Forsyth County could be getting a new distillery, and county leaders are changing some rules to help make it a reality.

Chairman Todd Levent said an upcoming development had a developer wanting to open a distillery on the property with a pouring room, tasting room and possibly tied to a restaurant.

Levent said the property will be partially zoned commercial business district, CBD, and distilleries are only allowed currently in heavy industrial areas.

“I think it’s because at one time the smell was greater than it was today because of the technology they use,” he said.

The change would allow distilleries in CBD and light industrial districts.