Washington bar opens its doors to pot smokers

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, December 10, 2012 13:13 EDT
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A man smokes a pipe. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.
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Frankie’s Sports Bar & Grill, owned by one Frank Schnarr, is thought to be the first of its kind anywhere in the U.S.: a bar that lets patrons toke up freely.

“I’m about to lose my business,” the Olympia, Washington-based business owner told Reuters. “So I’ve got to figure out some way to get people in here.”

Just to make sure he’s not chasing off all his customers, Schnarr has set up the second floor of his bar as a private club called “Friends of Frankies.” Interested patrons are charged a $10-a-year fee to access the lounge, where they can smoke marijuana freely. The lounge also serves alcohol, manned by a staff of volunteers paid by tips.

Schnarr was already in the headlines back in 2006, when he fought the state’s anti-smoking law and won. In the wake of Washington’s successful referendum to reform the state’s marijuana laws, he figured he would try to be the first again.

As for the lawmakers and local enforcers, it’s not quite clear what to do about the bar. The law isn’t specific about private businesses, although it does allow people to smoke in the privacy of their own homes.

It’s possible that new rules could be created to govern this sort of behavior, as lawmakers have a full year to sort out how legalized marijuana will be regulated. For now, though, it looks like Frankie’s is about to set a trend that others are sure to follow.

Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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