Blaine pot store fined for selling to minor

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
smoking pot.”

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.

  1. Jeff VanderYacht July 24, 2015, 3:09 pm

    I’ve visited Evergreen three times and found them rigorous in their I.D. check.But this was a routine compliance and training check and not really a news story. WSLCB would have issued a warning and a mandatory retraining for the employee who miscalculated by two months. But it’s NOT liquor–so it ends up on the front page of the NL. And now we know Pat and Louise’s political leanings.
    I would feel burned if I were the owner of this store–which has spent thousands on advertising in the Northern Light. Small business owners who have advertised in the Northern Light (myself included) usually get zero to limited results from the criminally overpriced advertising in this ‘paper’ but it seems important to this store to run an ad in every issue…And it seems to quite a few of us that the NL has ripped Jake off and then burned him. And that’s not an unusual outcome with these folks. I’d suggest that the non-local owners of this unsolicited mailbox-polluting fish wrapper sell the paper to REAL locals and then return to their place of origin as soon as possible…Please and thank you.. XD


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