SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

April 27, 2012

Psychic-license ban lifted

By Bethany Bray
Staff Writer

SALEM — The city can once again issue fortuneteller licenses, after the ordinance that regulates psychics and related businesses was tightened up at the City Council's request.

The council voted last night to lift the temporary suspension the board had previously placed on the issuance of new fortuneteller licenses.

Over the winter, the city's attorney rewrote the ordinance in a way that could possibly reduce the number of psychics that are issued licenses.

Going forward, a license will only be issued if a store designates at least 75 percent of its goods and services to fortunetelling and related products, such as the sale of books, candles, crystals, tarot cards and other items. Previously, the requirement was set at 51 percent.

The change was made to support local merchants who devote their entire business to the trade, year-round, Councilor Michael Sosnowski said.

It's also meant to prevent psychics from setting up shop in a business unrelated to fortunetelling, such as a coffee shop or clothing boutique during Salem's busiest time of year.

Councilor Joan Lovely initially requested that the City Council tighten up the ordinance that regulates fortunetellers last year. The council placed a moratorium on July 14 and charged Elizabeth Rennard, the city's attorney, with revising the ordinance.

Staff writer Bethany Bray can be reached at bbray@salemnews.com and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.