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City Council sends tobacco ban back to committee for ‘language’ amendments

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Posted at 4:36 PM, Oct 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-27 18:36:15-04

MISSOULA — After several public hearings, the proposed flavored tobacco ban is returning to committee for “much-amended language,” according to Mayor John Engen.

During Monday night’s session, the Missoula City Council sent the proposed ban back to the Public Health and Safety Committee, where members will discuss amendments and language revisions on Nov. 4.

Earl Allen, marketing manager of Noon’s Food Stores, thanked Missoula City Council for sending the ordinance back to committee.

“I think that’s a helpful move for several of us who think there were some misconceptions out there and I appreciate the fact that the Public Health and Safety Committee took a little time, and will continue to take a little more time going forward to discuss these things,” said Allen, who attended the past couple meetings on the ban.

As initially written, the proposal would have banned the sale and display of all flavored tobacco in city limits, including menthol cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, cigars and other flavored products. The council will amend the language and make its final decision on the proposed ordinance on Nov. 9.

Also at Monday’s meeting, city council approved a lowered lease rate sought out by Sovereign Hope Church. They currently use the city-owned former library on 301 Main St. for their Sunday church services.

The $4,500 monthly lease rate was lowered to $3,000. Both are market-rate rent prices.

“It’s a nonprofit. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to have a lower amount, and knowing the history of where they previously had their church services and that now is a property that the city owns and is using for other purposes,” council member Gwen Jones said of their former property which is now used as an emergency winter shelter.

“They’ve worked with us, and it’s incumbent on us to work with them. So, I think this is fine to make it work with everyone.”