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Schuette says cities can’t pre-empt the "age of majority" when selling tobacco

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Cities cannot refuse to sell tobacco products to people between the ages of 18 and 20. That’s coming from state Attorney General Bill Schuette who issued an opinion today.

State Senator Rick Jones asked the Attorney General for the opinion. He says he got a lot of calls about the ordinance from concerned constituents.

“It wasn’t going to stop anybody from smoking because the 18, 19, 20-year olds could simply drive a block or two, get out of the city and buy all they wanted. So the only people that were being hurt were the mom and pop stores that were just trying to make a living,” he says.

Last July, the city of Ann Arbor passed an ordinance forbidding the sale of tobacco to anyone under the age of 21.

Andrea Bitely is with the Attorney General’s office.

“This isn’t because he wants 18-year-olds to smoke, it’s because this is what state law says. And it says at the age of 18 you’re permitted to do things like purchase cigarettes, purchase tobacco products, buy a lottery ticket, do all sorts of things when you turn 18," she says.

In his opinion, Attorney General Bill Schuette says the ordinance is contrary to the Age of Majority Act, which says anyone 18 years old or older is considered a legal adult.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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