‘Roll Your Own’ Smoke Shops Unpopular with Kansas Agencies
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – “Roll your own” cigarette shops in Kansas are feeling the heat from the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, State Fire Marshall, and Department of Revenue.
Kansas shut down several “roll your own” shops for a variety of reasons. They say they are concerned the product isn’t safe and that the paper doesn’t meet regulatory standards.
Tom Erickson and his wife opened Trader Jacks Tobacco in Blue Springs and another shop in Shawnee. When you walk into the shop, you buy the tobacco and the empty tubes, and fill them yourself.
Among others, the issue is that Kansas wants to list these shops as manufacturers. Erickson disputes that, saying he’s a merchant. He sells the tobacco. He sells the tubes. Then he rents the space and the equipment to roll it.
Erickson and other shop owners have joined together to fight to keep their Kansas stores open. In Missouri, legislation has stalled and it’s status quo for the shops there.
Erickson says the shop is fun because of the great staff and unusual product.
“We don’t add any fillers. There’s no preservatives to it. But it will still kill you,” he said. “It’s not safer. It’s a better smoke.”
He says he’ll continue to fight for his employees.
“We give them a 401K retirement program. We offer health insurance, so we’re really trying to be good corporate stewards,” he said
The shops have reopened and the issues will be settled eventually in court.