In May I wrote an article talking about how recreational marijuana stores that sell to minors hurt the entire industry, and the movement as a whole. The article came after four stores in Washington sold recreational marijuana to minors during compliance checks. Sadly, the last round of compliance checks in Washington resulted in significantly more failures. Every instance is a black eye on the industry and the movement. Below is more information, via a Washington State Liquor Control Board e-mail:
In the first complete round of compliance checks of retail marijuana retail stores, 19 Washington recreational retail marijuana businesses sold marijuana to an underage investigative aide. Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) enforcement officers working with underage investigative aides, checked each retail marijuana business for sales of marijuana to minors. The checks essentially represent an 88 percent no-sales-to-minors compliance rate.
"Our goal is 100 percent compliance," said WSLB Board Chair Jane Rushford. "While perfect compliance is always a challenging goal, it is clearly in everyone's interest that our licensees be vigilant about preventing underage sales."
The 19 businesses will be cited for selling marijuana to minors. The individuals who sold the marijuana will be referred to their respective prosecuting attorney's office for potential criminal prosecution.
The WSLCB and local authorities regularly conduct compliance checks of area businesses licensed to sell alcohol and marijuana. The checks, conducted at every open marijuana retailer across the state (157 locations) from mid-May until the end of June, were the first marijuana compliance checks. Stores were considered open if it had reported sales. The checks followed earlier communications to all licensees that enforcement officers were beginning compliance checks and recommended best practices for avoiding an illegal sale.
Compliance checks are proven tools to reduce the sale of age-restricted products to minors. Investigative aides assist officers with compliance checks. These individuals are from 18 to 20 years old. They must either present their true identification or none at all if asked by a clerk.
Liquor enforcement officers are empowered to issue Administrative Violation Notices to businesses that fail compliance checks. Fines or temporary license suspensions can be issued depending on the severity of the infraction or the frequency with which a business has been cited. Sales to minors are considered the most serious violations because they present a threat to public safety. Businesses cited for Sale to a Minor face a 10-day suspension or $2,500 fine. A second violation within three years requires a 30-day suspension with no monetary option. Businesses who receive three public safety violations within three years face license cancellation.
Businesses that sold marijuana to a minor*
- Green City Collective, 13601 Highway 99 STE B (Everett)
- Purple Haze, 4218 Rucker Ave (Everett)
- Emerald Leaves, 2702 6th Ave (Tacoma)
- Mary Mart, 3005 6th Ave STE B (Tacoma)
- Dockside Cannabis, 15001 Aurora Ave N (Shoreline)
- Evergreen Cannabis, 922 Peace Portal Dr. (Blaine)
- Cannablyss, 2705 Hartford Dr. STE A (Lake Stevens)
- Cascade Kropz, 19129 Smokey Point Blvd STE B (Arlington)
- Clear Choice Cannabis, 8001 S Hosmer St (Tacoma)
- Royal's Cannabis, 7115 N Division St STE A (Spokane)
- Token Herb, 837 A Crescent Beach Rd (Eastsound)
- Sweet Greens Northwest, 19943 Old Hwy 99 SW (Rochester)
- Green Lady, 3044 Pacific Ave SE STE B (Olympia)
- TJ's Cannabis Buds, Edibles, Oils & More, 1428 Olympic Hwy S (Shelton)
- 4us Retail, 23251 Hwy 20 (Okanogan)
- Purple Haze, 4218 Rucker Ave (Everett)**
- Bud Hut, 11603 Hwy 99 (Everett)
- Theorem, 6323 NE Bothel Way (Kenmore)
- American Mary, 321 NE 45th St (Seattle)
All businesses that passed their compliance checks and did not sell marijuana to a minor can be found here.*
The WSLCB mission is to promote public safety and trust through fair administration and enforcement of liquor, tobacco and marijuana laws. Per 2015 legislation, on July 24, 2015, the agency will change its name to the Liquor and Cannabis Board. It will retain the WSLCB acronym.
* City-listed addresses may fall within its county's jurisdiction.
** Sold marijuana to an underage investigative aide on two occasions