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Columbia council ordinance seeks to reduce 'smoke shops' in Five Points

There are now a half a dozen smoke shops in Five Points and Columbia City Council is looking to make sure that no more come in.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A proposed ordinance could change the amount of "smoke shops" setting up shop in Five Points.

Columbia City Council has started working on an ordinance that would require smoke shops in Five Points to be a certain distance apart. Shops in the area have mixed feelings about the potential new rules.

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With the recent addition of Smokers Town on Harden Street, Five Points now has 6 smoke shops.  Anna Shull who works at Purple Haze says although there seem to be more smoke shops popping up in the area, she feels that these are just more small businesses that add to the community.

"I think it would bring a lot more business to the individual shops," Shull explained. "The other side of that is that if someone comes into our store looking for something we don't carry, I can just refer them to someone next door, but if there aren't as many shops then I can't really do that."

Some city leaders believe there are too many of the stores in the same area.

"There is a proliferation of these stores in this area, and I think we need a rule," said city councilman Howard Duvall.

However, the discussion about a proposed ordinance did not go without debate.

"I thought we already had something like this in place, I mean is this even necessary," questioned councilman Edward McDowell.

Mayor Daniel Rickenmann added an amendment to the ordinance that would also require smoke shops to post signs on the outside of their business, explaining that some of their products can cause failure of a drug test.

River Johnson at Crowntown Cannabis says, informing people of risks is basic customer service for their industry, and welcomes any additional signage that can help.

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"That's just what we do," Johnson said. "We tell people as soon as they pick something out what it will do."

The proposed ordinance has been passed along to the Public Safety Committee and will be looked at in their next meeting.

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