Ani Creation Inc. v. City of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Ani Creation Inc. v. City of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (Supreme Court of South Carolina, re-issued June 28, 2023) In Ani Creation v. City of Myrtle Beach, the Supreme Court of South Carolina upheld a city zoning ordinance that prohibited smoke shops in the historic area of the city. Read the full Opinion here.
The City of Myrtle Beach created a special zoning district, comprised of the tourist-centric historic downtown area, and prohibited certain businesses in that zone, including smoke shops. The express purpose of the new zoning was to foster a tourist and family-friendly area, by eliminating businesses that are “repulsive to families, including unhealthy tobacco use, crudity and the stigma of drug use and paraphernalia.” Prohibited business that were cited for violations after a grace period sued, claiming the new zoning was unconstitutional in violation of the Equal Protection Clause (for treating businesses inside the zone differently than those outside the zone) and was arbitrary and capricious (adopted without proof that the banned shops present a public health or safety concern). The Court rejected the smoke shop claims and upheld the zoning. Read the full Opinion here.