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August 15
1849 - Eight-pound gold nugget found in San Feliciano Canyon (Val Verde/Piru area) [story]
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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today urged local governments and agencies to apply for a new grant program that aims to reduce the illegal sale of tobacco products, especially to minors.

The multimillion-dollar grant program was established and is funded by the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016 (Prop. 56).

The deadline for localities to apply is May 25. Additional information on application requirements and eligibility criteria is available here.

Examples of local entities that could apply for the grant funding include:

Cities, counties or local government agencies that apply for funding to:

* bring local businesses into compliance with current tobacco ordinances;
* support community and retailer outreach and education programs;
* improve police training;
* create media awareness campaigns;
* inspect local tobacco retail licenses;
* install signs regarding tobacco-related regulations, e.g., no smoking signs in parks.

Public schools, college districts, and law enforcement agencies under contract with school districts that apply for funding to:

* hire, train, and support additional school resource officers (SRO) to focus on tobacco issues;
* install signs or air quality detection devices in school bathrooms and other areas to discourage vaping and smoking on school grounds.

City attorneys or county counsels who apply for a multi-agency expansion of their efforts to:

* decrease adolescent access to tobacco products, for instance, through prosecuting cases involving contraband or unstamped tobacco products;
* investigate and take enforcement action against hookah lounges that are not in compliance;
* develop multilingual media outreach campaigns;
* investigate and prosecute the unlawful sales of tobacco products on the internet and marketing on social media.

Local law enforcement, including police departments, county sheriffs’ departments, and school police departments that apply for funding to:

* conduct minor decoy operations;
* improve police training;
* increase resources to conduct tobacco-related enforcement operations targeting locations where minors are likely to be present, such as playgrounds, youth sports events, baseball stadiums, school and college campuses, public transit systems, or vehicles with a child present;
* provide education classes or diversion programs for tobacco retailers to help ensure that they understand state and local tobacco laws.

Approved by voters in 2016, Prop. 56 increased taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products by $2.00 starting in April 2017 and established a grant program for local governments, administered by the California Department of Justice. The grant funds are intended to support local efforts to reduce the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors.

Grant applications will be assessed for their potential to improve the enforcement of laws relating to the sale, marketing, and use of tobacco products. Local governments and agencies that support programs to enforce state and local laws related to the illegal sale and marketing of tobacco products to minors, investigate those activities, or conduct compliance checks to reduce illegal sales of tobacco products to minors are encouraged to apply.

For more information about the grant application process or qualifications, visit the Attorney General’s webpage.

Questions regarding the application process may be directed to the Attorney General’s office: tobaccogrants@doj.ca.gov.

tobacco in a field. | Photo: Shayan Kamal.

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