Man claims fraud in pot application

Businesses apply for ability to sell marijuana to adults

CRUMBACHER - A local man says property he owns in Okanogan County is being fraudulently used in a marijuana retail license application.

Paul Bell said he owns the property at 210 Crumbacher Road, which according to state records is listed on the state marijuana retail license application for The Green Nugget business.

“This is not good,” Bell said, noting the property is the site of the former Crumbacher store. “I just put it on the market.”

Bell’s dilemma is something the state is seeing in multiple locations, state Liquor Control Board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter said Friday.

The Liquor Control Board oversees licensing for growing, processing and selling marijuana under the state’s new law.

“There’s a lot of them,” Carpenter said of fraudulently used addresses. “There was a limited time frame in which to apply. Some applied with an address that appeared to be I-502 compliant.”

Initiative 502, which legalized the growing, processing, sale and use of a limited amount of recreational marijuana, was approved by 56 percent of voters statewide in November 2012. In Okanogan County, 51.4 percent of voters supported the measure. In Ferry County, the measure passed with 51.1 percent.

Under Liquor Control Board guidelines, 334 businesses will be licensed to sell retail marijuana to adults statewide, including one in Ferry County and five in Okanogan County – one of which must be located in Omak.

The Sage Shop, 605 Omache Drive, is the only Omak business to apply for a retail marijuana license in that city, according to a marijuana retail license application list updated Dec. 31.

That address is located in Omache Shopping Center and is currently divided into three suites housing Maytag Laundry, H&R Block and La Tress’ beauty salon.

The Green Nugget is one of at least 19 businesses in North-Central Washington to apply for a retail marijuana license.

Bell said he has never heard of The Green Nugget and reaffirmed the property that business claimed is his.

A search of Okanogan County records shows Bell indeed owns the land and house with a combined taxable value of $80,400.

According to Bell, he transformed the former Crumbacher store into a residence prior to deciding to sell it.

“Now, all the neighbors are asking about it,” he said. “And mine was the only one (property) licensed to be commercial (in Crumbacher).”

Carpenter said the state will investigate applicants and addresses prior to issuing any retail marijuana license.

“The information that you are seeing on our website was submitted by the applicant and it will be investigated,” he said. “It’s raw data. These things have to be vetted.”

Carpenter said the investigation process requires proof that an applicant has the legal authority to speak for the property in question. Without that authority, an application will be denied.

Bell said it’s possible the owners of The Green Nugget business included the address in hopes of both buying the property and establishing a marijuana retail shop on it. But to date, “nobody’s said a thing to me,” he said. “I think I’ll call the state and find out what’s going on.”

When The Chronicle contacted the state and asked about obtaining more specific information on The Green Nugget’s application, Carpenter directed the newspaper to file a formal public records request.

A search of the Internet shows two marijuana-related businesses in California containing “Green Nugget” in their names.

The Green Nugget Therapy officials in Arrow Lake and Big Bear, Calif., said they were not seeking a license in Washington state.

Officials at The Green Nugget, a cannabis clinic in Los Angeles, referred calls to a supervisor who wasn’t available when the business was called.

Back in Washington state, The Green Nugget’s officials could still change the address on the retail marijuana application, Carpenter said. In the meantime, the information posted on the website will stay.

“The information was submitted,” Carpenter said. “It’s a public record that we have to post.”

In addition to The Green Nugget and Sage Shop, other businesses seeking retail marijuana licenses in the region include:

Brewster

• The Roach 420, state Highway 173, No. 826

East Wenatchee

• Canabis Rock Island Road, 44 Rock Island Road, Suite 4

• Green Room, 852B Valley Mall Parkway

• Grun, 430 Rock Island Road

• Just Breathe, 858 Valley Mall Parkway

• The Happy Crop Shoppe, 50 Rock Island Road

• The Lid, 1931 N.W. Cascade Ave.

Electric City

• Brandy’s Antiques, 226 Coulee Blvd.

Grand Coulee

• Brandy’s Antiques, 319 Midway Ave.

• Stone Cold Wellness, 1 Spokane Way

Orient

• Secret Herb Shop, 360 U.S. Highway 395N.

Oroville

• Sukhleen LLC, 2020 N. Main St.

Tonasket

• 4US Retail, 32141 U.S. Highway 97

• Green Valley Living, 50 Frontage Road

• Simple Solutions, 1159 state Highway 7

Wenatchee

• Cannabis Mission Street, 212 Fifth Ave., Suite 12

• Dank Depot, 3765 Clemons St., Unit 3

• Fun Spirits, 902 N. Wenatchee Ave.

• SMP Retail, 1510 N. Wenatchee Ave.

• The Happy Crop Shoppe, 1210 N. Wenatchee Ave., Suite J.

• The Roach 420, 1326 N. Wenatchee Ave.

Winthrop

• Austin Lott, 29 Horizon Flats Road Suite 7

Wenatchee is guaranteed at least three retail licenses from among the six allocated to Chelan County.

Douglas County is allocated three licenses, with at least one earmarked for the city of East Wenatchee.

Washington will become the second state to allow retail sales of recreational marijuana. On Jan. 1, retail sales became legal in Colorado.

Although the state Liquor Control Board isn’t yet saying when retail marijuana licenses will be issued, spokesman Brian Smith said recreational marijuana is expected to be available in stores in late May or June.

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