Court Backs Walgreens’ Challenge to Tobacco Ban

     (CN) – A California appeals court has reinstated Walgreens’ challenge to San Francisco’s ban on tobacco sales in drugstores, saying it unfairly exempts big-box stores and supermarkets with pharmacies.

     The city and county of San Francisco passed an ordinance barring any retail store containing a pharmacy from selling tobacco.
     Walgreens sued San Francisco, arguing that there was no rational basis for the prohibition when grocery and big-box stores with pharmacies are allowed to sell tobacco.
     The trial court dismissed the lawsuit, but the First District Court of Appeal overturned the decision.
     “There is no rational basis to believe the supposed implied message conveyed by selling tobacco at a Walgreens that has a licensed pharmacy in the back of the store is different in any meaningful way from the implied message conveyed by selling such products at a supermarket or big box store that contains a licensed pharmacy,” Justice William McGuiness wrote.

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