The stalemate between the cities of North Mankato and Mankato about which one would raise its age to purchase tobacco products first seems to have finally broken, as on Monday night the North Mankato City Council approved its ordinance by a 3-1 vote.
However, implementation of the increase is contingent on Mankato passing a similar ban; legislators in both cities have said the increase would only be effective if passed in both places, since persons banned from buying tobacco in one city could just go to the other. It’s a debate that has been ongoing since June 2017.
In order to keep the increase from going into effect in North Mankato, Mayor Mark Dehen directed city staff not to publish the ordinance until Mankato passes its version. As the ordinance is written, it does not go into effect until the day after publication in the official newspaper of the city.
Mankato is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the increase on Feb. 12. The city’s mayor, Eric Anderson, has already expressed his opposition to the increase.
Several other cities in Minnesota have passed similar increases, namely Edina, St. Louis Park, Bloomington and Plymouth. A proposal at the state level failed to advance last year.
North Mankato is home to approximately 17,000 residents, while Mankato has a population of just under 42,000 people. The two cities are located approximately 80 miles southwest of Minneapolis.