It’s official: Mint Tea no longer allows cannabis

People can no longer smoke marijuana at the outdoor smoking tent at Mint Tea in uptown Vancouver.

A representative from the state Liquor Control Board visited the store, at 2014 Main Street, after seeing news reports, and told them they had to stop the practice, said manager Audrey Logan.

(Amanda Gloudeman smokes a pipe with marijuana Saturday night at Mint Tea on Main Street in Vancouver.  -Natalie Behring)
(Marijuana smoking at Mint Tea on Main Street in Vancouver will no longer be allowed. -Natalie Behring)

He told employees that Mint Tea would lose its liquor license if it continued to allow outdoor pot smoking, Logan said.

“Per the Liquor Control Board we’re not going to allow cannabis use on our property at all,” Logan said. “We don’t want to choose between having a liquor license or allowing cannabis consumption at our location.”

That leaves out-of-town visitors that buy pot at Vancouver’s two legal stores with no place in the area to smoke it legally.

That could change, though, once rules become more clear about how to set up a cannabis friendly club or smoking room in Vancouver.

“The alternative is to have a truly private membership club to allow people to bring their own in and use that space,” said Alison Holcomb, author of the I502 legislation and a statewide expert on the issue. “I think you can create a space like that, but then they wouldn’t be able to sell cannabis or liquor.”

There have been a few quiet private clubs in Seattle that opened as smoking rooms for limited hours, but the rules for such things aren’t well defined right now, Holcomb said.

“There’s a broader social and cultural question as well,” Holcomb said. “Do we want to make marijuana something you still do surreptitiously, so it still has that forbidden feel to it? Or do we want to do something more like Amsterdam has done?”

Amsterdam allows customers to smoke in lounges inside their coffee house pot stores, which is one model that could eventually appear in Washington, she said.

Part of the rules for clubs may have to be defined by cities, but it may also require an amendment to I502.

Either way, it’s something that’s starting to pop up in discussions statewide.

Adam Hamide, one of the managers at Main Street Marijuana, said he thinks there’s room in the area for a private club – and the store would also be open to a rule change that would allow it to have a lounge.

“I think there’s a good business opportunity for someone to come along and do it the right way,” Hamide said. “We get a lot of customers asking where they can smoke. But it needs to be done right.”