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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Bill would increase taxes on tobacco, smoking products

SF363 would create a Specialty Courts Program Fund where the taxed revenue would go to fight substance abuse.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Senate File 363, which passed unanimously in February,  regulates and adds a hefty licensing fee and sales tax on retailers that sell glassware and metal designed for inhaling tobacco and other substances. 

The bill forces the retailer to have an annual permit that costs $1,500 on top of a 40% tax purchase on the price of the pipe. An additional annual permit would be required to mail products, also $1,500.

"The other thing it would do is drive customers out of state because why buy in a state that you have to tax 40 percent," explained Zerron Horton, owner of Unkl Rucks's Smoke Emporium and Skate Shop. "They’re going to start hitting retailers in other states and maybe artists from other states. Things that don’t help us promote our growth here in our state that are already struggling from a global pandemic.”

One customer said the senators are "stereotyping."

“It really feels like the senators of Iowa, right now, are going to do an injustice not just to us as businesses but to the community as a whole," Horton said.

The bill also states that all glassware and metal pipes cannot be visible to those 21 and younger, and can't be where Iowans 21 and younger are allowed.

SF363 would create a Specialty Courts Program Fund where the taxed revenue would go to fight substance abuse.

Multiple requests for comment to state legislators were not returned as of Friday evening.

Read the full bill below

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