Lynden extends pot ban for fourth time; first pot store opens in Blaine

For the fourth time, the City Council has approved a six-month ban on recreational marijuana businesses in Lynden.

The council voted unanimously to do so on Monday, Feb. 2.

The latest moratorium will begin Feb. 15, according to Mayor Scott Korthuis. The first one was enacted September 2013.

City leaders have said they approved the bans because they wanted to see how regulations and legal challenges worked out as the state enacted the new recreational pot industry approved by Washington voters through Initiative 502.

The state Attorney General’s Office last year issued an opinion that nothing in I-502 prevented local governments from banning or otherwise regulating marijuana businesses. Four Superior Court judges have agreed with that opinion in four separate cases that sought to overturn bans in Clark County as well as in the cities of Fife, Wenatchee and Kennewick.

Lynden could, at some point, consider a permanent ban on such businesses if there was “no push back legally,” Korthuis said.

Meanwhile, the city of Blaine’s first recreational pot store will have been open three weeks as of Wednesday, Feb. 4. Evergreen Cannabis is at 922 Peace Portal Drive.

Jacob Lamont is the co-owner and manager of the business, which, under the business name JJF, was among those selected by lottery for a chance at a retail pot license.

The state allowed Whatcom County 15 stores in all — six in Bellingham, one each in Ferndale and Lynden, and seven others countywide.

Lamont said he entered the new business for a number of reasons.

“I believe in it. It’s one more step, I think, for personal freedom. It’s long overdue,” Lamont said.

He added: “This is a gold rush, really honestly, once we get the kinks out. The potential here is amazing.”

Evergreen Cannabis is selling marijuana flowers, oils, topical lotions, edibles, pipes and other paraphernalia. He said customers can expect “reasonable prices” and that means $18.83 a gram after taxes.

“I’m keeping my prices really low right now,” Lamont said.

Going forward, he wants to give the store’s offerings more of a Whatcom County flavor. That includes adding locally grown marijuana to the store, although he said he will continue to sell Wow Weed out of Klickitat County.

Evergreen also is selling edibles made by Bellingham-based Verdelux Chocolates.

“I’m really big on supporting the local community,” Lamont said.

Because of the store’s proximity to the Canadian border, and the visitors it draws as a result, he said the store stresses to such customers that the pot they buy in the state must stay in the state.

“Don’t take it back. Do not,” he said of the warning to such visitors.

Reach Evergreen Cannabis at 360-332-8922.