MA vape shop owners blame governor for struggles

Massachusetts News

BOSTON (NEWS10) — Fallout continues over the vaping ban ordered in Massachusetts. Some shop owners now blame the governor for increasing financial struggles.

On Sept. 24, 2019, Gov. Charlie Baker declared a public health emergency and temporarily banned the sale of all vaping products in the state. The temporary ban was kept in place until Dec. 11, 2019, but by that time, the governor had already signed a bill that immediately banned the sale of flavored vaping products.

Jamey Petruzzelli, the owner of North Shore Vapor, said business was incredible when he opened his first vape shop six years ago in Malden, which then allowed him to open a second location in Watertown. But he said Baker’s ban, along with a saturated market, forced him to close his Watertown store and lay off nine employees.

“It completely crushed us,” Petruzzelli said. “There was no way I could keep up with the rents over in Watertown.”

Petruzzelli is himself a longtime user of vaping products and understands the health concerns surrounding vaping products, but he believes users fell ill or died from consuming black market THC products.

He also contends that the majority of underage users were not getting their vaping products from vape shops or convenience stores.

“Any kid can go online and just click a button that says, ‘Yes, I’m 18 years old and have a debit card,’ and have it sent to them,” Petruzzelli said. “Take a look at that. Fix that.”

For now, North Shore Vapor is only selling smoking and CBD products, a business model Petruzelli believes is unsustainable.

“If it doesn’t change soon, I probably won’t be in business.”

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