Liquor store owners say they won’t sell pot

Washington marijuana

LONG BEACH — Pacific County retail liquor vendors have mixed opinions on legal cannabis sales, but none are interested in getting into the business.

Seattle entrepreneur Marcus Charles continues to advance his plan to turn a vacant shed on Port of Willapa Harbor property into a legal cannabis production facility. Charles said in a meeting with the Pacific County Council of Governments in April he has no interest in opening retail outlets to sell his products.

The production and sale of the product will be regulated by the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

Jake Myers, owner of Everybody’s Supermarket with stores in Raymond and Elma, answers the question of cannabis sales succinctly.

“Capital N, capital O and no syllables in between.”

Both stores offer liquor sales. Liquor is kept separate from other purchases, Myers said. The stores are set up to keep liquor out of the hands of minors.

“The goal is responsible spirits sales,” Myers said.

As for selling cannabis, Myers sees nothing good coming from it.

“This is so far out of left field,” he said. “It’s a can of worms. As a father, as a businessman for the past 37 years, I think somebody at the state better rethink this.”

Dawn Williams, owner of the South Bend Liquor Store, does not use cannabis, but is not opposed to the legalization of it.

“I considered selling it until I found out I couldn’t sell alcohol if I also sold (marijuana),” she said.

One of the conditions of Initiative 502, the measure that legalized cannabis in the state of Washington, is that retail stores may sell only cannabis, cannabis-infused products and paraphernalia.

Draft rules released May 16 back up that condition by stating that “The board will not approve any marijuana retailer license for a location within another business.”

Williams said she doesn’t think cannabis is a gateway drug.

“I think it’s less detrimental (to your health) than alcohol, but I recognize it’s still a federal offense,” she said.

How the feds react to the state’s rogue attitude toward the green stuff will be interesting, she said. How consumers react to the price of state-legal cannabis will also be interesting, Williams said.

I-502 included a 25 percent excise tax on each level of the system: producer to a processor, processor to a retailer, and retailer to the customer. In addition, B&O taxes on the production and local retail sales taxes apply.

“It will be an impressive price when it’s done,” she said.

For others, the thought of selling cannabis with the state’s approval is just strange.

Sid Snyder Jr., owner of Sid’s IGA Market in Seaview, which last year began selling hard liqour, falls into that category when asked about selling cannabis products.

“I highly doubt it. I haven’t even thought about it. It’s weird to even think about it.”

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