One of the biggest challenges that felons face when released is finding work. Securing a decent job can be tough.
This is mostly due to bias by employers. They do not want to hire someone with a criminal past that might re-offend.
When all else fails, starting a business can be a good option. If looking to sell tobacco products, then the query is, can a felon get a tobacco license?
For employers, it is mostly about safeguarding their business, employees, and clients. However, it has been proven that felons often make for good employees. Given what is at stake, they are more determined to work hard and honestly.
The reality on the ground is that most jobs attract multiple applicants. And most employers will choose a non-offender over an offender. Becoming an entrepreneur can be a good way to avoid these struggles.
You can make use of personal finances, borrow from family or friends, or apply for other funding. Best of all, you do not have to pander to anyone by defending your criminal record. You also do not have to be worried about how to explain a bad background check report.
But does being a felon affect tobacco licensing? Before we answer this, let’s discuss what this license is for.
What Is a Tobacco License?
Most industries and businesses come under some level of government oversight and regulation. The tobacco industry is no different. For anyone to import, make, distribute, or sell these products, they need to have a license.
The type of license one applies for will depend on how they will handle the product. That is, as an importer or exporter, manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer.
Importers and exporters may deal in processed and/or raw tobacco. They require a federal license from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).
They will also need a state license. This is from the state they are delivering or exporting the product to or from.
Manufacturers also require a license from the TTB. They also need a state license in the state they are doing production.
Wholesalers are those that distribute tobacco products to retail businesses. They need to apply for state licensing for this.
Retailers will likely need a license from the state. Some jurisdictions also require approval from the local government. The license has to be clearly displayed within the premises. If you have multiple locations, each one will need its own license.
For those wanting to install a cigarette vending machine, they must ensure no minors can access it.
Besides displaying the license, there are other conditions to be met. Businesses must meet certain record-keeping standards. This allows for easy auditing by authorities when requested.
They also have to be careful not to commit any related crimes. This includes selling of tobacco products to minors. They should only be sold to adults that are 18 years or older.
Why Sell Tobacco?
Tobacco products and their vaping alternatives are in high demand. Some shops that deal mainly in these products have revenue streams that run in the hundreds of thousands. The profit margins are often quite good and sales potential strong if in a good location.
There are also a variety of products you can sell. The three types of products can be smoked, chewed, or sniffed. These include cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and loose tobacco for hookah use respectively.
Sellers can also include these products amongst other fare. As with gas station shops, convenience stores, and hookah lounges. You can even have a cigarette machine on the premises.
There are various ways you can include tobacco products in your business. However, in whatever way you offer the products, you will need a license.
And despite the bad publicity the industry often suffers, it does support millions of workers. For the consumers, being able to enjoy these products is vital to their stress relief.
The nicotine that is absorbed from tobacco has a stimulating effect. It affects the brain, central nervous system, and cardio system. It can however also lead to health risks and possible addiction.
Can A Felon Get a Tobacco License?
Yes. Having a felony conviction or arrest on your record is not typically a barrier. Most felons can easily secure a business license if they meet the conditions.
A criminal record would only matter if the offense is related to the business you intend to conduct. For instance, if the applicant was previously arrested and convicted for selling tobacco to minors.
If the licensing body does query criminal arrests or convictions, it is best, to be honest. They typically allow the applicant to explain the circumstances.
Once they verify the information given, they will make a decision. Where you are honest about your past, it is unlikely to affect your application.
Remember that giving misleading statements can result in legal problems. Especially when applying to a federal or state authority. Since the truth will be revealed anyway, just be truthful.