Four Washington Dispensaries Sold Pot To Minors

Last week, the Washington Liquor Control Board ran its first regulatory compliance check on recreational marijuana dispensaries in the state and the results were less than stellar. Four out of the 22 retail stores checked were found selling marijuana to minors, leaving many in the industry shaking their heads in disappointment.

The four stores that failed the compliance check were Mary Mart and Emerald Leaves in Tacoma and Green City Collective and Purple Haze in Everett.  For failing their compliance check, these businesses will have to face either a fine of $2,500 or a 10 day suspension of their license, although some would argue the black mark of selling to minors is bad enough.

For those that initially opposed the legalization of marijuana, this incident embodies all of their fears and reservations.

Candace Duce is a concerned mother from Everett. She moved her family out of their neighborhood as soon as she found out that the now-besmirched dispensary Purple Haze was opening up two doors down from their home. Speaking with KIRO 7, Duce expressed her frustrations.

“It aggravates me they’re letting stuff like that happen,” said Duce. “We’re so much happier where we are [now].”

Despite the outrage from some citizens, the mood of state regulators can only be described as tempered disappointment.

Brian Smith, a spokesperson for the Liquor Control Board, told the Time Magazine that this was more or less par for the course when it comes to compliance. According to Smith, when the control board checks for alcohol violations, they usually have approximately 85-90 percent compliance; so compared to the marijuana industry’s 82 percent, things are not so bad.

“It’s early. This is a brand new industry that is finding its way,” said Smith. “There’s going to be some kinks initially.”

Although many in the industry check IDs twice, once upon entering and once at checkout, some stores do not, leading to a breakdown of communication. If the person at the door makes a mistake when checking a customer ID, and the person at the checkout counter assumes the customer being served is of age, the checkout clerk might not ask to check the ID.

To ensure this never happens, many dispensary owners are resorting to alternative methods of checking IDs. The owner of Mary Mart, Damien McDivitt, told the Seattle Times that his store will now use a hand held electronic device to check IDs.

“It scans and verifies. It helps us do math. You run the person’s form of ID through it, it spits out their age and if it’s a valid ID or if it’s an expired license,” said McDivitt. “We take this very seriously. It is our livelihood and our license on the line.”

By the end of June, the state plans on checking all 138 recreational marijuana dispensaries for compliance.

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