(A)   Violations.
      (1)   Notice. Upon discovery of a suspected violation, the alleged violator must be issued, either personally or by mail, a citation that sets forth the alleged violation and which must inform the alleged violator of their right to be heard on the accusation.
      (2)   Hearings. If a person accused of violating this chapter so requests, a hearing will be scheduled, the time and place of which must be published and provided to the accused violator.
      (3)   Hearing Officer. The City Council will periodically approve a list of persons, from which the City Manager or designated agent will randomly select a hearing officer to hear and determine a matter for which a hearing is requested.
      (4)   Decision. If the hearing officer determines that a violation of this chapter did occur, that decision, along with the hearing officers reasons for finding a violation and the penalty to be imposed under division (B) of this section, must be recorded in writing, a copy of which must be provided to the accused violator. Likewise, if the hearing officer finds that no violation occurred or finds grounds for not imposing any penalty, the findings must be recorded and a copy provided to the acquitted accused violator. The decision of the hearing officer is final, subject to an appeal as described in division (A)(5) of this section.
      (5)   Appeals. Appeals of any decision made by the hearing officer must be filed in the Hennepin County district court within ten business days of the date of the decision.
      (6)   Misdemeanor prosecution. Nothing in this section prohibits the city or any other legitimate jurisdiction from seeking criminal prosecution for an alleged violation of this chapter or any other state or federal law regulating tobacco products.
      (7)   Continued violation. Each violation, and every day in which a violation occurs or continues, constitutes a separate offense.
   (B)   Administrative penalties.
      (1)   Licensees. Any licensee found to have violated this chapter, or whose employee has violated this chapter, will be charged as follows:
         (a)   First violation of this chapter, an administrative fine of $300.
         (b)   Second offense at the same licensed premises within a 36-month period, an administrative fine of $600.
         (c)   Third or any subsequent offense at the same licensed location within a 36-month period, an administrative fine of $1,000 and the license will be suspended for a period of not less than 30 consecutive days and may be revoked.
      (2)   Employees of licensees and other individuals. Individuals, other than persons under the age of 21 regulated by division (B)(3) of this section, found to be in violation of this chapter may be charged an administrative fee of $50.
      (3)   Persons under the age of 21. Persons under the age of 21 who use a false identification to purchase or attempt to purchase licensed products may only be subject to non-criminal, non-monetary civil penalties or remedies such as tobacco-related education classes, diversion programs, community services, or another non-monetary, civil penalty that the city determines to be appropriate. The City Council will consult with educators, parents, guardians, persons under the age of 21, public health officials, court personnel, and other interested parties to determine an appropriate remedy for persons under the age of 21 in the city in the best interest of the underage person. The remedies for persons under 21 who use a false identification to purchase or attempt to purchase licensed products may be established by ordinance and amended from time to time.
      (4)   Statutory penalties. If the administrative penalty for violations against licensed retailers under division (B)( 1) authorized to be imposed by M.S. § 461.12, as it may be amended from time to time, differ from that established in this section, then the higher penalty will prevail.
(Ord. 1998-873, passed 4-13-98; Am. Ord. 2015-1192, passed 5-26-15; Am. Ord. 2020-1259, passed 11-30-20)