OLYMPIA — If you’re looking to smoke marijuana outside of your own home, one Thurston County bar invites you to stop on in. But state officials say, not so fast.
Now, the top floor of a popular bar on Pacific Avenue in Olympia is called a private smoking room and the owner says he’s operating legally.
“They need to read the law, they need to learn about marijuana and medical use, then make a judgment on it,” Frankie Schnarrs, who owns Frankie’s Sports Bar, said. “There’s no law that says I can’t have marijuana, the law says you can smoke it in privacy.”
You can’t just walk in and light up — customers have to be 21 and pay a $10 annual cover charge.
Schnarrs argues since the top floor is closed to the public, he isn’t breaking the law, but the Liquor Control Board isn’t so sure about that.
“I think that the board would take a different view of that and saying you’re a licensed restaurant, you’re a licensed location and by doing that you’re clearly a public place, a restaurant is a public place,” said Brian smith, with the Washington State Liquor Control Board. “He actively sometimes pushes the envelope. We’re aware of what’s going on at his licensed establishment right now.”
Schnarrs says 12,000 people have paid up so far and nearly 60 percent of his business comes from upstairs. In fact, he admits it’s keeping his restaurant from going under.
But now Schnarr’s liquor license could be in jeopardy.
“If you’re a licensed location, if you’re a restaurant, you’re a bar, that’s a public place,” Smith said. “You can’t be selling and smoking marijuana on the premises.”
Frankie says he’ll close up shop and walk away if the state revokes his liquor license.
Here’s a video from our first report on Frankie’s: