WA: Vape Shop Owner Busted For Selling Marijuana From Back Room, Authorities Say

Photo Credit: Jean Levac

State Liquor and Cannabis Board agents arrested a Lakewood vape shop owner who clandestinely sold marijuana from his South Tacoma Way storefront, an agency spokesman said.

The 25-year-old University Place man was arraigned Friday in Pierce County Superior Court on charges of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a controlled substance. He was released on his own recognizance.

“This is the first time I’m aware of in the state that it happened to be a tobacco and vape shop that was selling marijuana out the back door,” Liquor and Cannabis Board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter said.

According to charging documents:

The Liquor and Cannabis Board received a tip that Smoke Supply, 8904 South Tacoma Way, had bought a bulk order of marijuana and was selling it from the store. The store was licensed to sell cigarettes, vapor products and other tobacco products, but not licensed to sell marijuana or marijuana products.

About 11 a.m. Thursday, a board agent came to the Smoke Supply and asked to buy some marijuana. The owner told him to come back in 10 minutes.

The agent returned about 15 minutes later and bought about 7 grams of marijuana from the owner for $60.

About 3 p.m., board agents returned to the store with a search warrant, and they arrested the owner. He said he only sold marijuana to his friends, and denied having any more on site. Then he said he had a little bit in the back room, but that he was holding it for a friend.

Agents found more than 5 pounds of marijuana in a cardboard box in the back room, along with a 9mm handgun.

The marijuana has a retail value of $20,000, according to Carpenter. In addition to the criminal charges, the board’s enforcement wing will be pursuing penalties for selling marijuana illegally. The store could lose its licenses to sell tobacco and vapor products if found in violation of state rules.

Tobacco and vapor licensees are allowed to possess firearms, Carpenter said, but the firearm was seized because of the illegal marijuana sales at the site.