Tobacco Retailers License

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Per Chapter 5.42 (Tobacco Retailers) of the Union City, California Municipal Code and Ordinance 741-10 (eff. 11/23/10), it is unlawful for any person to act as a tobacco retailer in the City without first obtaining and maintaining a valid tobacco retailer’s license (TRL) pursuant to Chapter 5.42 for each location at which that activity is to occur. Tobacco retailers who sell in Union City must have a Union City Tobacco Retailer's License in addition to their California State Cigarette/Tobacco License and Sales and Use Tax Permit. The latter two (2) items are obtained from the California State Board of Equalization and do not excuse tobacco retailers in Union City from also securing Union City Tobacco Retailer's License from the City of Union City. All three (3) items are now required.

If you are a tobacco retailer or distributor in Union City, please follow these steps:

  • Download the Tobacco License Application [PDF]
  • Complete Tobacco License Application either on your computer or print out and complete by hand. The document is a fillable Adobe Acrobat document via your computer.
  • If you are a new business, you will also need to apply for a business license. Go to Business Licenses for more information and complete the Business License Application [PDF] as instructed.
  • Return the completed Tobacco License Application, a copy of your current California Board of Equalization (BOE) Tobacco Permit, and payment of $744.00 (credit card or check payable to CITY OF UNION CITY) to the following. If you are a new business, please also complete and return your business license application with the appropriate business license tax payment and return to the same address:

City of Union City
Attn: Tobacco Licensing - ASD
34009 Alvarado Niles Rd
Union City, CA, 94587

If you should have any questions regarding the application process, you may contact:

Rahnni Le, Revenue Manager

A Tobacco License Application can also be obtained in person at City Hall from the Cashier’s desk. Click here for location and hours.

If you have questions about the Municipal Code which regulates tobacco retailers and distributors in Union City, please go to: Union City Municipal Code Chapter 5.42 Tobacco Retailers

License Requirements:
Tobacco retailers and distributors must comply with all local, State, and Federal laws and must:

  • Display their license prominently in a publicly visible spot;
  • Require a positive I.D. from anyone who appears under the age of 27;
  • Not display or sell drug paraphernalia; and
  • Not sell on foot or from vehicles. Tobacco retailing and distributing may only be from a fixed location.

All tobacco retailers and distributors are subject to Municipal Code Chapter 5.42 and, if found in violation, can have their tobacco license suspended or revoked.

Tobacco License Facts:

  • The term of a tobacco license is one year and must be renewed no later than thirty (30) days prior to the expiration of tobacco license term.
  • Current annual fee is $744.00 (effective 07/01/16).
  • A tobacco license is non-transferable between owners or locations.


Union City Municipal Code (5.42.110) sets forth a revocation process for violations of the tobacco license program.

Revocation of Tobacco License:
A tobacco license can be revoked if an employee of the business sells a tobacco product to a minor or violates any other provision of Municipal Code Chapter 5.42. The following penalties will be imposed for violations:

  • 1st Violation: Written warning
  • 2nd: Tobacco License revoked for 30-days
  • 3rd: Tobacco License revoked for 90-days
  • 4th +: Tobacco License revoked for 5-years

If a tobacco license is subject to revocation, a written notice will be issued and the retailer/distributor shall cease operation of the business for which the license was issued within 5 days of the date the revocation notice was mailed.
A request for an appeal hearing may be filed with the City Clerk within 10 days of the date the revocation notice was mailed.

What this means to your business:
If your license is revoked, you are prohibited from selling tobacco products until you reapply for and obtain a new tobacco license and pay all applicable fees. $744.00 (effective 07/01/16).

If you should have any questions regarding the revocation process, you may contact:

Rahnni Le, Revenue Manager

ucpd-smSting Operations:

The Union City Police Department will regularly conduct sting operations to verify compliance with the requirements of the TRL program. Our goal is to completely eliminate tobacco sales to minors in Union City. Educate your employees and avoid having your license revoked.

Institute a training program with your employees:

  • Teach your employees to recognize age from various forms of ID.
  • Teach them what to say when they have to refuse a sale due to age.
  • Provide additional training if an employee breaks the law or store rules.
  • Use aids such as ID scanning systems, calendars, age charts, etc. to assist employees verifying age and ID.
  • Your employees are responsible for the conduct of your business if they sell such products.
  • Give employees written copies of tobacco laws and store rules. Have them sign the copies to show they have read and understood them.
  • See resources at:

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