Tobacco Retail Licensing Program

On October 19, 2021, the City of Hesperia City Council adopted the Tobacco Retail Licensing Program. Effective December 19, 2021, the program is intended to ensure that retailers comply with tobacco control laws and business standards of the City of Hesperia to protect the health, safety, and welfare of our residents. The City has a substantial interest in reducing the number of individuals of all ages who use cigarettes and other tobacco products and a particular interest in protecting adolescents from tobacco usage and dependence as well as the many illnesses associated with tobacco use. 

What are the general requirements of the Tobacco Retail Licensing Program?

  • All tobacco retailers in the City of Hesperia must obtain and maintain a Tobacco Retail License to sell tobacco products.
  • The license must be renewed annually and is separate from a City of Hesperia business license.
  • No person shall sell a tobacco product to a person under 21 years of age.
  • An unexpired government-issued photo ID is required to purchase tobacco.
  • All sales of tobacco shall be conducted in-person at the licensed location; retailer may not offer delivery sale or mobile vending of tobacco products.
  • All tobacco retailers must provide education and training to employees on local laws preventing sales to those under 21 years of age.
  • Advertisement of flavored tobacco products is prohibited.
  • No tobacco retailer shall sell individual cigars or little cigars, no samples or promotional items, and no tobacco coupons or discounts shall be honored or redeemed.

All tobacco retail establishments in the City of Hesperia must comply with the Tobacco Retail Licensing Program, which can be found here Licensing and Regulation of Tobacco Retailers.

I have to comply, what does this mean?

In order to comply with the program, your business will receive a yearly inspection from Code Enforcement. They will use a standard checklist to perform the inspection. An inspection will be conducted at the tobacco retail location upon the application of a tobacco retail license. If violations are found, a correction notice will be sent to the applicant and to the property owner listing all violations. A license shall not be issued until all violations are corrected.

This checklist will be based off the below list of general requirements and prohibitions:

  1. A valid Tobacco Retailer’s License prominently visible at the licensed location.
  2. Minimum legal sales age of 21.
    1. Retailer must verify consumers unexpired government-issued photo ID before selling any tobacco products.
  3.  Sherriff's Department may conduct a compliance check involving the participation of persons between 18-20 to enter licensed premises to attempt to purchase tobacco products.
  4. Retailer may not offer delivery sale or mobile vending of tobacco products.
  5. Products must be sold in the manufacturer’s packaging, conform to federal labeling requirements and have child resistant packaging.
  6. Retailers may not sell little cigars unless they are in a package of at least 20 little cigars.
  7. Retailers may not sell cigars unless they are sold in a package of at least six cigars. 
  8. Retailers may not distribute free or nominally priced tobacco products. 
  9. Retailers may not honor or redeem tobacco coupons. 
  10. Retailers must provide education and training to employees on local laws preventing sales to those under 21 years of age; training should include how to properly and accurately check a customer’s age on a photo ID and how to refuse tobacco sales.

The detailed checklist may be accessed here: Tobacco Retailer Inspection Checklist

Where do I apply?

You may register for the program by completing the Tobacco Retail License Application, which can be accessed  here:

Once registered you will be contacted by a City staff member that will walk you through fee payment and scheduling your inspection.

How much does this program cost?

The annual cost for a Tobacco Retailer License is $210 per year. This fee does not include extensive enforcement costs, fines, or other fees that may be associated with compliance or other services.

For Tobacco retailers who also fall under the City’s Deemed Approved program (i.e., also retail alcohol), a Combination License will be available for $485. This fee is comprised of the Deemed Approved fee of $325 plus an additional $160 to cover the costs of Tobacco Retailer Inspections upon application and throughout the year. 

The fees from the program will fund outreach, program administration, inspection costs, and enforcement costs as needed to ensure program compliance.

Deemed Approved Regulations can be found here Deemed Approved Regulations. You may also refer to the City's website for Deemed Approved FAQ's here Deemed Approved Program.

What happens if I do not comply or I have violations?

Should a business not pay for their Tobacco Retailer License or comply with all conditions of holding a Tobacco Retailer License, that license may be suspended for up to 1 year or revoked and civil or administrative penalties may apply. 

  • Not passing an inspection will result in a violation of the Tobacco Retail License. 
  • A violation will be issued for each offense. 
  • Violations will result in possible suspensions or revocations of the license:
    • 1st violation: license suspended for 90 days.
    • 2nd violation: license suspended for 120 days.
    • 3rd violation: license suspended for one year.
    • 4 or more violations within a 5-year period: license shall be revoked permanently.
  • If it is found that a tobacco retailer has sold tobacco or a tobacco product to a minor under twenty-one (21) years of age, they will be subject to the penalties noted above, and upon the first violation of this nature, that retailer shall also apply for a conditional use permit (CUP) which may result in losing the ability to sell any and all tobacco products and/or a complete revocation of the tobacco retail license.

 What happens if I operate without a valid tobacco retail license?

Operating without a valid license includes operating with a license that has been suspended or revoked is subject to the following:

  • 1st violation:  no new license may be issued for the person or location until 30 days have passed from the date of the violation.
  • 2nd violation within any 5-year period:  no new license may be issued for the person or location until 90 days have passed from the date of the violation.
  • 3rd or subsequent violations within any 5-year period: no new license may be issued for the person or location until one year has passed from the date of the violation.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

 In addition to any penalties prescribed by the Municipal Code, which include fines or other civil penalties which can be found in Chapter 1.12 of the Municipal Code, the Tobacco Retail License program is also subject to the following: 

  • During the suspension or revocation period, no retailer shall be allowed to vend any tobacco product. All tobacco products shall be removed, and no tobacco product shall be displayed.
  • Violating this section shall count as another violation which will increase the suspension period or may lead to revocation of license, depending on the number of violations.  This is considered operating without a valid license. 

How can I be sure I comply?

To ensure your businesses compliance, review the regulations found here Licensing and Regulation of Tobacco Retailers, be sure to pay your business license and Tobacco Retail License in full when the renewal is due and comply with all inspection requirements and correct any violations noted by the Code Enforcement Officer.

What if I have questions or concerns?

For inquiries about the Tobacco Retail License Application, please contact (760) 947-1315 or email