HAVERSTRAW, N.Y. - The Village of Haverstraw has reconsidered its ordinance restricting tobacco displays at retail, the Rockland County Times reports. Last month, the New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS) and seven tobacco firms filed a lawsuit asking that the ban be labeled unconstitutional. The village board will hold a public hearing on August 13 to repeal the ordinance.
The ordinance, which would have gone into effect October, banned all public displays of tobacco products inside any store that minors frequented. Also forbidden were tobacco ads or signage. A tobacco "menu" replaced the displays, but was only available upon request.
After the lawsuit was filed, Mayor Mike Kohut said the village would stay the course only if the anti-tobacco groups that pushed for the ordinance provided funds for the defense. When those groups failed to do so, the village decided to reverse the ban.
"We€™re pleased that the Village is moving in the direction of repealing the law," James Calvin, president of NYACS, told NACS Daily. "As our lawsuit makes clear, this ordinance has a number of serious legal problems, including basic First Amendment issues. Had we known in advance that the Village was working on such a law, we would have raised these issues prior to adoption.
"Haverstraw€™s licensed tobacco retailers have demonstrated a commitment to preventing underage sales and complying with all existing state and federal regulations governing tobacco sales, and we€™re sure their responsible retailing practices will continue," said Calvin.