Of the 22 pot shops subjected to an initial round of sting operations, four failed compliance after they were found selling to minors. Washington regulators stated that noncompliance was noted despite the shops being forewarned of the sting operations.
According to the Liquor Control Board, the checks conducted from Friday through Monday revealed that two shops in Tacoma and two in Everett were involved in selling marijuana to underage individuals.
As reported by Washington Times, the Tacoma shops that failed to abide by the rules were Mary Mart and Emerald Leaves, while the Everett ones were Green City Collective and Purple Haze.
Underage individuals involved in the operations go to the shops and present their genuine IDs. However, in some cases, shops don’t ask for IDs. Upon purchase, they complete the transaction and report to the officers stationed outside the shops.
Businesses selling marijuana to minors can lose their licenses and face fines of up to $2,500. Upon failing to meet compliance three times in three years, the state-issued licenses of these shops can be revoked while the person who sold the contraband could be charged with felony.
The first round of these operations were conducted between May 15 and May 18 in Skagit, Snohomish, Kitsap, Pierce and Cowlitz counties. King County stores are yet to be checked.
Mary Mart owner Damien McDivitt said that he thought thorough ID checking procedures had been in place at his shop, and that he was disappointed to learn that his business didn’t meet the regulations.
He said, “We take this very seriously. It is our livelihood and our license on the line.”
He added that, in his business, individuals who look under the age of 30 are asked to present their IDs. All IDs are checked before an individual is sold marijuana.
“It was one individual’s bad day,” he said. “They lost their job here. They’re no longer employed at Mary Mart.”
According to The Seattle Times, Brian Smith, LBC’s member, said sting operations will be conducted in more than 150 stores in Washington that are licensed by the state by the end of June.
He said, “When the news is out, we’ll see a spike in compliance. That’s what happened on the alcohol side.”
As reported by TIME, Colorado tested a sample of 20 marijuana-selling shops in 2014 and found that there was 100-percent compliance. However, only a small number of the 250 stores were tested.
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