Washougal Mayor Sean Guard is concerned the opening of a retail recreational marijuana business, operated by the owner of Mary Jane’s House of Glass, could cause an increase in service calls by police.
In a letter to the Washington State Liquor Control Board license division, Guard said from August 2012 to June 3, this year, the Washougal Police Department had 23 calls for service at Mary Jane’s, 1825 “E” St.
The letter was obtained through a public records request to the City of Washougal.
Mary Jane’s sells smoking accessories, glass pipes, bongs, candles and incense.
Guard said the high volume of calls pulls officers off of other duties and demonstrates “a pervasive pattern of activity that threatens the public health, safety and welfare of the city.”
In 2011, Mary Jane’s was vandalized. Also that year, a patron reported the store was empty, and officers found an employee, Mario Corona, sleeping in an office. Another room contained five pounds of dried marijuana.
In 2012, police dealt with a subject high on “Spice,” purchased at Mary Jane’s. A year later, there was a robbery, two burglaries and property damage at the business. There was also an incident involving merchandise purchased with a stolen bank card.
This year, a robbery was reported in the spring. The suspect, who was armed with a gun, fired a warning shot.
Guard is requesting an adjudicative hearing be held if the Liquor Control Board contemplates issuing a marijuana retailer license.
Washougal Community Development Director Mitch Kneipp described that type of hearing to be a legal process to resolve a dispute where both sides can present evidence to the board.
Brandon Brock, the applicant to open Mary Jane’s House of Marijuana, at 245 Sixth St., said Corona took advantage of knowing the owners were out of town.
“That store is under completely different management,” Brock said by phone Friday. “He was terminated immediately.
“A rogue employee can happen anywhere,” he added. “We were never charged — the owners or partners.”
Regarding the other crimes that have occurred at Mary Jane’s House of Glass, Brock said his business is open until 11 p.m., and robberies and break-ins are going to happen.
“We have an upgraded camera system, and we installed a panic button,” he said.
“I’m not looking to open another House of Glass,” Brock added. “The other business will have other regulations. It’s like comparing apples to oranges.”
Brock’s criminal history statement to the State Liquor Control Board includes an arrest for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in March 2002 and driving under the influence in May 2005. He is a 2000 Washougal High School graduate.
Brock visited Main Street Marijuana, 2314 Main St., in downtown Vancouver, on its opening day Wednesday.
“It looked like it had a great opening,” he said. “Mine would probably look a little bit different. They had a large staff.”
That same day, Brock represented Mary Jane’s House of Glass in a booth at a “Weed and Weenies” event near the new retail marijuana shop.
The event was hosted by Viridian Sciences, which offers business management software for the cannibis industry.
“Washougal has a great opportunity to all people to get back to work,” said Justin Dufour, chief executive officer and president of Viridian Sciences. “We are not just building pot stores. We are building a new industry.”
Planning Commission to hold work session and public hearing July 22
The Washougal Planning Commission will address the issues of potentially banning the retail sale, growing and processing of recreational marijuana within the city limits — with an expiration date.
The city is working on an amendment to its development regulations. The amendment would state “no use that is illegal under local, state or federal law shall be allowed in any zone within the city.”
The issue will be up for discussion by the planning commission during a work session Tuesday, July 22, at 5:30 p.m., in the council chambers at City Hall, 1701 “C” St. Public comments will be accepted. A public hearing, in front of the planning commission, is scheduled for 7 p.m.
After the planning commission works on language for a prohibition of any uses that are illegal under federal law, the issue will return to the Washougal City Council for a workshop discussion Monday, July 28, at 5:30 p.m.
A public hearing will be held during the Monday, Aug. 11, council meeting, at 7 p.m.
A ban could have a sunset clause of July 1, 2015. Washougal Community Development Director Mitch Kneipp said the state legislature needs to firm up the rules to avoid having the federal government stepping in.
A moratorium, regarding the retail sale, processing and growing of recreational marijuana within the city limits of Washougal, is in effect until Sept. 1. A moratorium in Camas has an expiration date of Oct. 21.
Clark County Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke have voted to ban the establishment of marijuana production, processing and retail sales facilities in the unincorporated areas of the county.
Gordy Euler, with Clark County Community Planning, said postcards with information about the commissioners’ ordinance have been sent to marijuana license applicants.
“We have notified all license applicants of this fact, because it is likely that some folks who get a license from the Liquor Control Board will think that is all they need to open a facility,” Euler said.