Floyd County's moratorium on new vape shops, convenience stores

Floyd County has put a 6-month moratorium on new vape shops and convenience stores. Earlier this year, Rome and Cave Springs put a similar moratorium in place. 

"We had a lot of complaints about the vape shops and some of the products sold in vape shops. It's a quality of life and a health issue," said Rome Mayor Craig McDaniel.  

McDaniel says when it comes to the convenience stores, many of them have coin-operated gaming machines, also known as ding-ding machines. He says some of the people who play them are the ones who can least afford it. 

"They're taking money off the breakfast table, they're taking money that would go into a lunchbox," said Mayor McDaniel. 

Floyd County leaders say public safety has talked about problems surrounding some of these businesses. 

"It's not every establishment that has these machines or sells vape products but we know of somewhere there are some illegal activity surrounding these establishments related to prostitution, illegal drugs, those kind of things," said Floyd County Commission Chair Allison Watters. 

Commissioner Watters says during the next six months they'll take a closer look at the problems and what can be done about them. 

As for the convenience stores, Mayor McDaniel says there are between 700 and 750 gaming machines in Rome and Floyd County. He says if they're going to be there, he believes some of the money that is made of them should go to the community to help with issues such as homelessness.  

"I think there needs to be some sharing of the revenue to help us locally address some of those issues," said Mayor McDaniel. 

Both county and city leaders say they have a lot of research to do about these businesses, and the moratorium will give them time to do that.