FRAMINGHAM – The Framingham Board of Health voted Monday night, August 13, to suspend the the tobacco license of GCN African Market for three consecutive days, starting Sunday, August 19, after the store sold a pack of a pack of cigarettes to a minor in June. The vote was 4-0.
The Framingham Board of Health also voted to fine the owner $100 for the violation of the City’s regulations.
On June 30, a minor purchased Marlboro cigarettes at GCN at 50 Franklin Street.
It was the store’s first offense according to Health Director Sam Wong.
The owner said his uncle came to visit him on that day, and he had to got to the bathroom. He said he was just gone for a matter of seconds, but while he was gone, his uncle sold the pack of cigarettes to the minor. The uncle is not an employee.
The store has been in business in Framingham since 2010.
“This is the first time I ever had this problem,” said the owner to the Framingham Board of Health, at last night’s public hearing.
In Framingham, the minimum age to purchase tobacco is 21. The State recently raise the age in the Commonwealth from 18 to 21, but it has yet to go in effect throughout the Commonwealth.
According to the report, at 11:43 a.m. the minor purchased a pack of Marlboro cigarettes with a $20 bill. No age was asked and No ID was requested.
“I saw the boy just as he was leaving,” said the owner at the hearing. “I saw the inspector standing down the street, when I looked out.”
The Framingham Board of Health recently updated its regulations. As of July 1, an establishment is fined $300 for a first offense on tobacco, and no longer $100.
Since the violation happened on June 30, the Board agreed to levy a $100 not a $300 fine.
The City’s regulation also calls for a 3-day consecutive suspension of the tobacco license.
The store will lose its license August 19-20-21.
GCN African Market was one of three businesses that was caught selling tobacco to a minor as part of a sting in June 2018.
The other two were Auto Brite Car Wash and Walgreens on Route 135.
The Framingham Planning Board told businesses in a letter in July that failure to appear at last night’s hearing, could have resulted in additional penalties or fines.
Wong said the City of Framingham is “part of the regional tobacco control district, which also includes Natick, Sudbury, Marlboro, Southboro, Ashland, Hudson, Medway, and Millis. The district conducts two rounds of compliance checks in each fiscal year.”
The second round for Framingham for Fiscal year 2018 was doen in June.