By Steve Guntli
Blaine’s Evergreen Cannabis was one of 19 pot stores that sold marijuana to a minor in a statewide compliance investigation.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) conducted the compliance checks by sending underage investigative aides to each of the 157 recreational pot stores in the state between May and June. The aides were all between 18 and 20 years old, and had to present either their true identification or none at all when asked by the clerk.
Overall, the state had an 88 percent no-sales-to-minors compliance rate.
“Our goal is 100 percent compliance,” said WSLCB 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.”
Jacob Lamont, owner of Evergreen Cannabis, said he’s disappointed but is working with the WCLSB to make sure it never happens again.
“We take this very seriously,” he said. “We are very against selling to minors. I’m a dad. I don’t want my kids
Lamont said the underage customer was two months shy of their 21st birthday, and the sale was the result of a simple math error on the part of the employee.
Stores that sell to minors could face a $2,500 fine or a 10-day suspension of their license. Any business that incurs a second violation within three years faces a mandatory 30-day suspension. Businesses with three violations in three years can have their licenses revoked. One store, Purple Haze in Everett, has already sold to an underage agent on two occasions in the first round of compliance checks.
Lamont said the WSLCB has been very understanding and patient with him, and is allowing him to pay his fine on a payment plan. He will not be getting a suspension.
“I explained the circumstances and they’ve been really nice,” he said. “The WSLCB enforcer was actually sad, because we’ve been so compliant with everything else.”
Lamont invited an enforcer to give a 90-minute training session to his employees about proper identification measures. He is also working with the store’s point of sale system provider to require employees to enter date of birth into the system before a sale can be completed.
Lamont said the employee who sold to the minor would not be fired.
“There’s no malice. This employee has a squeaky-clean record. It was just a mistake,” Lamont said.