Monday, January 25, 2010

Revisiting the Avva Cigars Saga with DHS

The process is continuing in the fight for the rights of smokers at Avva Cigars.
I have acquired the actual transcripts from the Legislature when they were discussing SB571 which became the Smoke Free Workplace Law.
Note the points made by the Senator quoted:

/ unclear / Members of the Committee -9 / unclear / exception to the smoking prohibitions for “smoke shops”
It clarifies that smokes shops may sell alcohol in a specific lounge area between the hours of 3 pm and 8 pm.
[Clerk] Okay , Senator Porzanski.
[Senator Prozanski] Move / unclear / -9 amendment to SB5771 … for consideration
[Clerk] Senator Prozanski has moved for -9 amendment to Senate Bill 571. Is there any discussion?
[Senator Prozanski] Perhaps I’ll go over the amendment since most of the people here don’t know or have not had an opportunity to hear what the -9 Amendment is about. We had a testimony that was at our first public hearing which was in Eugene at the U of O Law School. And at that time we heard from an individual that actually owns a smoke shop or tobacco shop, and after hearing testimony I was compelled to bring forward the -9 Amendment. The -9 Amendment actually would define a smoke shop as a business that’s primarily engaged in the sale of tobacco products and smoke instruments as defined in the statutes. At least 75% of their gross revenue for the business will have to come from the sale of tobacco products. It will, in fact, prohibit individuals under the age of 18 from entering the premises . It will not allow for lottery gaming or any type of betting on premise. As anybody remembers the individual that gave the testimony talked about having lottery in his establishment . I think that after speaking to most of the committee members, we did not want to see this becoming a loophole for bars to be able to somehow stay in existence as they currently are. So by eliminating – or prohibiting, I should say – any type of gaming and requiring that the primary income come from the sale of tobacco .
And the next part on that component is that it needs to be a stand-alone business meaning that it cannot be structured in an area like what we would call a mall, so the ventilation system will not be tied in to any way, shape or fashion to allow smoke to come out of there.
The testimony that we heard in Eugene … it occurred to me that when you talk about smoke shops where you have cigars or pipe tobacco being sold, it’s not uncommon for individuals who are buying those items to want to test them or sample them. And it seems only right at this stage in our laws in the state, as well as in the country, with tobacco being a legal product, that this would be an appropriate exception to the bill.
It should be noted for those that are here, as we heard in the testimony in Eugene, this individual said everyone that worked for them were smokers because, as he stated, that it’s very important for those individuals to know the tobaccos they are selling and it was just basically common. So though we are concerned about making sure individuals who work in employment situations are not directly impacted by smoke or they have no choice, it appears that you are talking about a very small segment of the population that would be seeking those type of jobs. And, as he said, all of his employees in themselves are, in fact, smokers.

So as you can see, they intended for the "smoke shop" exemption to be for even those stores IN A MALL, IF they have their own ventilation. Avva has it's own HVAC and ventilation and in fact structurally is completely detached from the mall, and Sadeeh has the documentation from the City, the mall and the engineers to prove this. The next step is to meet with DHS to present all of this new information!

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