OMAK – Alcohol and marijuana law compliance checks were conducted Aug. 3 in Omak and Okanogan by the Omak Police Department and Okanogan County Community Coalition.
Nineteen businesses were checked for alcohol sales law compliance concerning sales to underage shoppers, and three for marijuana compliance.
Sage Shop and Fire Cannabis, both in Omak, and Forbidden Cannabis, Okanogan, all refused to sell to the police department’s underage operative.
Seventeen alcohol retailers checked in Omak and Okanogan also refused to sell to the underage operative. They were Okanogan Chevron, Okanogan Market IGA and Caso’s Family Foods, all Okanogan, and Jackpot Conoco, Gene’s Harvest Foods, Stampede Mini Market, Rite Aid, Safeway, Walmart, Grocery Outlet, Pizza Hut, Omache Chevron, Omak Travel Plaza, El Portal, Roadhouse 97, Rancho Chico and Los Gallos, all Omak.
Two alcohol licensees – Valley Lanes and Red Rooster, both in Omak - sold to the investigative aide, said the coalition.
Omak Police cited an employee from Valley Lanes and an employee from Red Rooster for furnishing alcohol to a minor, which is a gross misdemeanor and punishable by up to a year in jail and up to $5000 in fines.
The violations will be reported to state Liquor and Cannabis Board, which can take administrative action against the business owner. Administrative action can include fines, a five- to 30-day license suspension or both. Repeat offenses can result in a liquor license being revoked.
Coalition Director Stacey Okland said local business owners and staff may not realize that compliance checks are more about making sure kids don’t have access to alcohol and marijuana than trying to bust a business or employee.
Most businesses used scanning devices to check identification, “so we appreciate the efforts businesses have taken to make sure their employees have the tools to make sure they do not sell to a minor,” said Oakland. “If they can’t get it they can’t drink it.”
The coalition will continue to use its funds to conduct compliance checks to ensure that local alcohol and marijuana retailers maintain their compliance with state laws, she said.