Crime

Whatcom County pot store caught selling to minor

A Whatcom County marijuana store sold pot to a minor during a compliance check, according to the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

Evergreen Cannabis, the first recreational pot store to open in Blaine, will face a 10-day suspension or a $2,500 fine from the liquor control board. The store employee who sold pot to the minor could face criminal charges.

The violation was the result of an employee making a simple math error, said store co-owner and manager Jacob Lamont. The customer’s identification showed a birth date only a couple months shy of 21, Lamont said. Lamont was in the store at the time but was not involved in the transaction.

“The unfortunate reality is that the person did her own math, and that was the problem,” Lamont said.

The store has been making changes to prevent similar mistakes, Lamont said, including plans to add a system that would force employees to type in a person’s birthday before making a sale.

“Extensive measures have been taken to be sure that it never happens again,” Lamont said. “I’m very against selling to minors, I really am. It’s not a good thing.”

The liquor control board checked all 157 open recreational pot stores in Washington for compliance from mid-May until the end of June. Evergreen Cannabis was one of 19 stores in the state to fail, and the only in Whatcom County. The rest, including eight other stores in the county, passed.

A second violation within three years requires a 30-day suspension with no option to pay a fine, according to the liquor control board. A business would lose its license on the third violation within three years.

The Evergreen Cannabis employee who made the mistake won’t face any consequences from store management, Lamont said.

“Of course this is an emerging industry, so the magnifying glass is on all of us,” Lamont said. “It’s not like I hire really shady people, it’s just that they’re human. We’ll make sure they have the proper tools in place so this doesn’t happen again.”

Reach Wilson Criscione at 360-756-2803 or wilson.criscione@bellinghamherald.com.

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