FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A new ordinance to strengthen regulations in the City of Fresno regarding smoke shops has been introduced by councilmembers Arias, Perea, and Esparza, officials announced on Monday.

According to officials, the new ordinance is designed to protect public health and quality of life by regulating and reducing the nuisance crime that occurs at smoke shops.

“In the same way that we have regulated liquor stores and cannabis shops, the City is now stepping forward to mitigate the impact of smoke shops on our neighborhoods. These shops have proliferated without the proper oversight, much to the detriment of our community,” said Councilmember Esparza.

The ordinance will address an issue that has arisen over the last couple of years; the proliferation of smoke shops across the city that was made possible by the loophole that allowed these smoke shops to operate as grocery stores.

“These smoke shops have proven detrimental to our Fresno community and have increased the demand for public safety responses. Through this ordinance, we are promoting and safeguarding public health and creating a more positive environment for our residents by establishing these regulations and consequently eliminating nearly 70% of the current operating neighborhood smoke shops city-wide,” said Councilmember Arias.