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Tobacco Retail License
The City of San José's Tobacco Retail License Ordinance and related Tobacco Retail License (TRL) program are designed to encourage the responsible sale of tobacco products and discourage violation of tobacco-related laws.

The TRL program gives particular emphasis to the prohibition of selling or distributing tobacco products to underage youth. San José requires that positive ID be shown for ALL persons purchasing tobacco products. If a retailer is found selling tobacco products to persons under age 21, they will receive a $2,500 fine for each violation. For repeated violations, the City may revoke the retailer's Tobacco Retail License, and the retailer may no longer be able to legally sell tobacco products.

Tobacco Retail License

State law allows local jurisdictions to develop and implement a Tobacco Retail License (TRL) program. San José Municipal Code Section 6.87 prohibits retailers from engaging in the sale of tobacco products and paraphernalia without first obtaining and maintaining a valid tobacco retail license. The regulatory system specified in Ordinance 28875 became effective on February 11, 2011.

Tobacco retailers are required to obtain an annual license from the City of San José.

Tobacco retailers can prepare for inspections by reviewing the TRL Inspection Guide.

For further information about the TRL Program, email or call (408) 535-7770.

Definition of a Tobacco Retailer


SJMC 6.87.130 states: "Tobacco retailer" means any person who sells, offers for sale, or does or offers to exchange for any form of consideration tobacco products or tobacco paraphernalia. This definition shall be without regard to the quantity of tobacco, tobacco products, or tobacco paraphernalia sold, offered for sale, exchanged, or offered for exchange.