• July 15, 2020

Florida Vape Shop Wants ‘Essential’ Status

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A vape shop owner in the US state of Florida has filed a lawsuit against local city and county governments arguing that his store should be allowed to remain open as an essential business.

Today, Modern Age Tobacco filed a complaint and a request for injunctive relief in to the City of Gainesville and the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners, following about three weeks of back-and-forth, according to an article in The Gainesville Sun.

Modern Age sells tobacco products, butane, vaping products and devices, CBD and hemp-based food items,and devices for the use or ingestion of medicinal cannabis. It is filing to remain open on the grounds that it provides medical services and products, natural gas and food products.

Last month, Alachua County and the City of Gainesville ordered the closure of all “non-essential” businesses, with violators facing a second-degree misdemeanor for not following the order. Modern Age applied for inclusion as an essential business and converted to retail delivery, according to court documents.

On April 9, police and fire officials went to the store’s retail locations and told managers the business was non-essential, the lawsuit says.

“Modern Age will be unable to continue business operations if they continue to be regarded as a non-essential business or alternatively if they are forced to comply with defendants’ arbitrary definition of delivery,” the complaint reads.

Modern Age’s owner, Patrick Patton, said he did not know anything about a lawsuit and referred the newspaper to attorney Nick Zissimopulos, who declined to comment.

City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos said Gainesville is enforcing emergency orders that have been ordered by the state government to protect the public health.