RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Attempts to clamp down on illegal cigarette trafficking by increasing penalties haven't been entirely successful, so Virginia officials are considering a new strategy.
The Virginia State Crime Commission staff has recommended requiring retailers to obtain a state license to sell cigarettes and turning enforcement over to the agency that oversees the state's liquor monopoly. A staff report says the Alcoholic Beverage Control Department already has extensive experience administering sales permits and investigating fraudulent retail practices.
The commission will discuss the proposal at its next meeting Tuesday. The move would require General Assembly approval.
A spokeswoman for the ABC says the agency is willing to do whatever legislators ask, but resources must be part of the conversation. The trade association representing Virginia's 4,600 convenience stores opposes the proposal.