The Columbian / Associated Press

East Vancouver Herbery to close for 10 days

East Vancouver marijuana shop The Herbery has closed temporarily, the result of a state-imposed penalty following a routine sting operation earlier this year. The closure began Sunday and the store reopens 9 a.m. Nov. 14.

The Columbian first reported in February the store at 212 N.E. 164th Ave. was facing a month-long closure after selling a marijuana cigarette in January to a 19-year-old investigative aide from the state Liquor and Cannabis Board. Purchasers of marijuana must be at least 21 years old in Washington.

At the time, store co-owner Jim Mullen said a management trainee had failed to notice the aide was underage when she showed her ID, and a budtender failed to perform a second ID check. Both employees were fired, he said.

The January violation was the second strike for the store. A second violation typically results in a $1,000 fine and a 30-day suspension of sales, but Mullen appealed the decision and requested a lesser punishment. The store was allowed to remain open while the appeal worked its way through the state Office of Administrative Hearings.

While that was happening, the store added a scanner to help check IDs and instituted a policy to no longer accept vertical-format state IDs, which can be issued to minors, according to a post on the store’s website. Also, checkout-counter employees have been instructed to double-check the IDs of anyone who appears to be under 40.

The Herbery entered into a settlement agreement with the state board in early October, in which the 30-day suspension was reduced to 10 days due to the store’s efforts to prevent further violations and in exchange for a higher monetary penalty of $10,000.

“Preventing minors from entry and not selling to a minor is our obligation. This is on us, and we own it,” Mullen said last week on the website. “We are lucky to be suspended for only 10 days — other stores have received penalties of 15-30 days. We were able to negotiate leniency because we are good players and overall run a tight and compliant business.”

The east Vancouver location on 164th Avenue is one of three dispensaries that operate under The Herbery brand. The other two are on St. Johns Road in the Minnehaha area and Chkalov Drive just north of Mill Plain Boulevard. The suspension does not affect the other locations, although the company said the revised security measures and policies have been implemented at all three stores.