South Thurston County pot retailer misidentified in Lewis County

May 19, 2014 

 Potential pot retailer Washington Green Leaf had plans to open up shop in South Thurston County.

The pot business filed with the state Liquor Control Board for a property at 21837 Old Highway 99 SW, near Northwest Sausage and Deli in unincorporated Thurston County.

However, the location has a Centralia address so the Liquor Control Board approved it for Lewis County. The pot business is one of four stores the Liquor Control Board allowed to open in Lewis County. The other three are Cannabis and Cannabliss on Sandra Avenue in Centralia, and Americanna Weed Co. at 1234 Highway 506 in Vader.

"Lewis County was allocated four licenses for the county at large. Since there were only four prescreened applicants for Lewis County, no lottery was held," Mikhail Carpenter, Liquor Control Board spokesman, wrote the county in an email. "Before being entered into the lottery, applicants had to submit documents for prescreening to ensure they were a bona fide applicant. Those that didn’t submit the documents or didn’t pass the prescreening were not entered into the lottery."

Lewis County is not recognizing Washington Green Leaf’s business license since its business is in Thurston County.

"They are not in our county," Lewis County Commissioner Lee Grose said. "It’s their problem and the Liquor Control Board’s problem. It’s not our problem."

Neary Ouch, a business partner with the owner of Washington Green Leaf, said the situation has put the owner, who did not want to be identified, in a difficult position.

"We did our research before we put in our application. It was for unincorporated Thurston County," Ouch said. "We were shocked and surprised is was (moved to) Lewis County. Right now, we don’t know what is going to happen and what they are going to do."

The pot business is now not allowed in Lewis County and unable to be approved in Thurston County, since the county already allocated its pot retail business licences.

The Liquor Control Board already awarded six pot retail licenses in Thurston County at-large, not including Washington Green Leaf. A total of 19 retailers applied in Thurston County at-large.

Statewide, the Liquor Control Board awarded 334 retail licenses.

Washington Green Leaf plans to reach out to Thurston County and the Liquor Control Board. Ouch said the owner may drop out completely if he is unable to fix the situation.

"As of right now we don’t know," Ouch said. "We are just kind of waiting to see right now."

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