Prosser Pot Shop Hit With Violations, Could Face Closure
The owners of Altitude in Prosser say the issues are technical ones, and they are confident they will remain open.
As part of the very tightly controlled marijuana industry in Washington state, pot store owners are required to follow certain rules and maintain strict disclosure guidelines as to who all is involved in the store and it's financial dealings. Part of this is to ensure no illegal practices are being utilized-especially when it comes to the money used to run, and coming from, the store.
Altitude, the only pot store in Southeastern Washington, is facing two violations from the Board. Last November, the store owners were cited for what's called misrepresentation of facts, and "a true party of interest" violation. That means they failed to disclose all of their financial backers, AND leaving some owners off the shop's lease.
Both of these were to have led to them losing their license December 31st. But under the appeal process, they are still open with a temporary license. Liquor Control Board officials say the investigation is closed, but the case is still open. Officials say it could take up to a year before it's resolved. Liquor Control Board officials say the issue is where they were getting their money to run the store, and one of the people involved in that process (as well as overseeing the business) was not disclosed to the Board, as required by law.
Store officials say it's a misunderstanding, that when they set up their company, they set up a real estate company that the store rented from. That apparently was not disclosed. The owners say they are confident once they get to speak to a judge who understands how business law works, it will be resolved.
The Board has more stringent requirements for pot stores than the old state liquor stores, because of the drug involved. The rules are designed to prevent hidden owners or money coming from suspicious sources to fund the pot retail outlets.