Washington man and liquor board debate ban on allowing bar customers to smoke pot
The Washington state Liquor Control Board will propose a new limit to the state’s recent legalization of marijuana, prohibiting residents from smoking it inside bars.
KIRO-TV reported that the board held a public forum on Wednesday to discuss the issue, where it encountered opposition from Frank Schnarrs, a bar owner who allows some patrons to smoke both marijuana and tobacco in a “private room” on the second floor of his bar, Frankie’s Sports Pub.
“You can’t smoke it down at my place, you can’t smoke it in the parking lot, you can’t smoke it in your backyard,” Scharrs told the board at one point. “Where are you guys going to allow smoking of marijuana?”
Board chair Sharon Foster responded that it was following the rules of Initiative 502, the state law that legalized smoking marijuana after passing in Nov. 2012. The law forbids partaking of the drug in “public view.”
“You don’t need to get mad with me at me, ma’am,” Scharrs told Foster, who quickly started laughing. “I just run a business down the road, okay?”
The Olympian reported that customers can smoke pot or regular cigarettes at Scharr’s bar by paying a $10 annual membership fee. Scharr said the “Friends of Frankie” club currently has more than 13,000 members, and that his bar has attracted interest from both international news organizations and an unidentified producer who approached him to ask about basing a reality show around the bar.
“I’ll be honest with you, if it wasn’t for marijuana, I wouldn’t be open,” he told the Olympian. “They eat, my God they eat. Business is up.”
But the board’s move also found support at the meeting from Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention spokesperson Meghan Sullivan, who said, “driving under the influence of two substances would be very dangerous for people on the roads.”
Watch KIRO’s report on the hearing, aired on Wednesday, below.
[Image: ‘Man smoking marijuana pipe’ via Shutterstock]