The Columbian / Associated Press

The Herbery in east Vancouver still open pending appeal

Though it faces a monthlong shutdown, marijuana store The Herbery remains open for business and hopeful for an appeal.

“We’re still open, we’re still running. We still feel good about the opportunity to stay open and avoid a suspension,” said owner Jim Mullen.

The store, one of a trio under The Herbery brand, sold a joint in January to a 19-year-old investigative aide from the state Liquor and Cannabis Board. It was the second strike for that location, 212 N.E. 164th Ave., forcing a 30-day closure and a $1,000 fine.

The closure was supposed to start Feb. 27, but Mullen is appealing the penalty. The store has made changes, he said, such as no longer accepting state-issued vertical IDs that can be acquired by minors; and introducing a scanner to help check the ID’s validity.

Mullen said a precedent exists for stores avoiding closure after an appeal, but he does expect to pay a fine. Mullen said he feels “pretty good” about staying open.

“This is the process we have to go through. I think it was intentionally set up this way, and you can love it or hate it, but it is what it is,” he said.

The appeals process now goes through the state Office of Administrative Hearings. A decision could take months, and The Herbery will be open in the meantime.

Retail stores are subject to “compliance checks” from the state Liquor and Cannabis Board about three times per year. Marijuana stores pass about 92 percent of the time, the agency said. A third violation results in a license revocation.

There have been four violations in Clark County since 2015.