Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) mulls rule change to ban marijuana anywhere alcohol is sold


The Olympian

Liquor Control Board mulls rule change to ban marijuana anywhere alcohol is sold

Opponents turned out in force Wednesday morning to express displeasure with a proposed rule change by the state Liquor Control Board that will prohibit marijuana consumption in liquor-licensed establishments statewide.

The News Tribune (Editorial)
Liquor stores and legal pot face ferocious competition
The fate of Washington’s liquor stores should be a cautionary tale for lawmakers and local governments trying to make legal marijuana stores as advertised.


Washington State Liquor Stores going out of business

Owners of former Wash. liquor stores struggling
Nineteen months after the state auctioned off its liquor stores to dozens of private entrepreneurs, more than 60 percent of the stores are out of business and many others are struggling to stay afloat.

Owners: smaller liquor stores face extinction without tax break

Small, privately-run liquor stores in Washington are closing at a rapid rate.

Tri City Herald

Views differ on benefits, downfalls of marijuana

There are hundreds of strains of marijuana — each containing hundreds of different chemicals — but only one molecule makes much difference, scientists say.

Feds Won’t Challenge Washington State’s Marijuana Law

Washington Post

Obama administration will not block state marijuana laws, if distribution is regulated

The Obama administration on Thursday said it will not stand in the way of Colorado,Washington and other states where voters have supported legalizing marijuana either for medical or recreational use, as long as those states maintain strict rules involving distribution of the drug.



Feds won’t sue Washington, Colorado to prevent pot law implementation

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced today that, based on a phone conversation with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, he believes the state is free to move forward in implementing new regulations for recreational marijuana, in accordance with last year’s Initiative 502.


Seattle Weekly

Feds Won’t Challenge State’s Marijuana Law

The U.S. Department of Justice announced today that it would not challenge Washington’s marijuana policy.

Online Class for alcohol card in Washington State and the privatization of liquor and new theft increases, esp for minors

WA: Surge in liquor thefts in state must be quelled

July 31, 2013

The increase in liquor thefts is hardly an unintended consequence of allowing booze to be sold in supermarkets and other retail outlets. Most expected that easier access to booze would result in more people trying to walk out of stores with a bottle or two.

#But the increase in thefts is far higher than many anticipated across the state. Local police estimate a 175 percent increase in shoplifting liquor. News reports out of Seattle describe the theft rate as “practically an epidemic.”

#This has become more than a crime issue, it’s a public safety issue. Minors have easier access to hard liquor such as vodka, whiskey and tequila.

#“We are getting a lot of minors that are stealing it, people that are stealing it and reselling it and I’m sure a lot of it is for their own consumption as well,” Walla Walla Police Department spokesman Tim Bennett said earlier this month. “ … There’s no way of knowing how much loss is going unreported. We suspect there is a lot.”

#Many retailers are still trying to figure out where to display the liquor to increase sales and decrease thefts. It’s essentially a business decision. The same goes for the decision to install expensive security systems. They might reduce thefts but the cost might not justify the benefit.

#U-B reporter Vicki Hillouse reported earlier this month that because of the increase in thefts, local law enforcement officials are finding themselves working with retailers on how to display the product and deter theft.

#Walla Walla isn’t an island regarding the concern of law enforcement. The increase in liquor thefts has law enforcement seeking a way to target the problem.

#KLEWTV out of the Lewiston/Clarkston area reported this week that the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs wants the State Liquor Control Board to require retailers to keep detailed records of theft.

#“So once we have that data and we know what the problem is we can start talking about solutions to the theft problem,” said Clarkston Police Chief Joel Hastings.

#A record requirement is a solid idea as long as it is structured so it won’t create a burden for retailers.

#The data could also be useful in tweaking the law on liquor sales.

#Some have suggested that liquor should be sold in more secured areas with only one entrance in and out, much like state-run liquor stores or video-rental areas that were once prevalent in grocery stores.

#The approach taken by law enforcement is welcome. Liquor thefts, particularly by minors, must be curbed.

Recreational Pot Use in WA State now legal

Q13 Fox

Initiative legalizing pot passes; supporters light up

SEATTLE—Washington state Initiative 502, a measure legalizing marijuana for adults, passed Tuesday night.

The Seattle Times

Voters Approve I-502

Washington state voters made history Tuesday by legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

The Olympian

Washington first state in nation to legalize recreational pot use

Washington voters made their state the first in the nation to legalize recreational pot use, setting up a showdown with a federal government that backs the drug’s prohibition.

too many alcohol signs – an eyesore

KIMA Yakima

Too many booze signs are an eyesore and against state liquor laws

YAKIMA, Wash. — They stick out like a sore thumb. Colorful, over-sized signs for booze. It seems like most people have accepted that they just come with the territory at mini marts and gas stations.

Good News – A drop in alcohol related deaths

In the Washington Traffic Safety Commission 2012 Highway Safety Performance Plan, on pages 18-20 where the 2010 data on impaired driving is detailed, 2010 preliminary data show (compared to the five year average):

· A 23% decrease in deaths involving a driver with a BAC of .08 or above.

· A 17% decrease in alcohol and/or drug impaired deaths.

· A 21% decrease in alcohol and/or drug impaired serious injuries.

Responsible alcohol service and common mistakes

Restaurants can prevent common liquor law violations

*The following article will appear in an upcoming edition of the Washington Restaurant Association’s The Front Burner magazine.

Restaurants play an important role in keeping their customers safe by selling alcohol responsibly and ensuring liquor laws are followed.

It is just as crucial to check IDs carefully, watch for signs of intoxication and create an environment that discourages disorderly behavior as it is to provide excellent food and an inviting ambiance.

Top 3 Violations in 2010
These violations resulted in Administrative Violation Notices. The data does not include warnings. 

  1. Sales to minors
  2. Sales to apparently intoxicated persons
  3. Employees drinking on duty

Top 3 Complaints in 2010

  1. Sales to apparently intoxicated persons
  2. Sales to minors
  3. Disorderly conduct


“Restaurants can avoid common liquor law violations through training, clear business policies and diligence,” said Chief Pat Parmer of the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) Enforcement and Education Division. “For managers and owners, it is especially important to regularly review your expectations with your staff to avoid complacency or confusion.”

The WSLCB may find violations during compliance checks, premises checks, undercover operations, and complaint investigations. Complaints can come from the public, law enforcement and employees, and officers follow up with interviews and visits.

“Public safety violations – such as sales to minors and apparently intoxicated persons, and disorderly conduct – are considered the most serious,” said Chief Parmer. “From the first drink order to the final check, employees should be aware of the situation and ready to take action to prevent harm to their customers.”

Administrative violation notices can result in fines or liquor license suspensions for the restaurant. Employees involved in the violation could face criminal citations, fines and even jail time. Mandatory Alcohol Server Training permits – which allow employees to serve alcohol – could be suspended or revoked. The WSLCB also gives verbal and written warnings, which do not result in fines or suspensions.

Sales to minors
Restaurants may not sell or serve alcohol to those under 21 years of age. While not required by law, checking identification is key to preventing sales to minors.

Restaurants should have a policy that dictates when an ID should be checked and what forms of acceptable ID are permitted at the business.

Acceptable forms of ID

  • · A drivers license, ID card, or instruction permit issued by any U.S. state or Canadian province
  • · A Washington temporary drivers license (paper license)
  • · A U.S. Military ID
  • · An official passport
  • · A merchant marine ID
  • · A Washington State tribal enrollment card

A valid ID must show:

  • · Date of birth
  • · Signature (except U.S. Military IDs)
  • · Photo
  • · Note: If an ID has an expiration date, the ID must not be expired

How to check ID:

  • · Ask for identification.
  • · Have the customer hand you the ID. Do not accept or handle a customer’s wallet.
  • · Check the expiration date. Do not accept expired ID.
  • · Check the date of birth. For vertical Washington IDs, check the information to the left of the photo to make sure the customer has turned 21.
  • · Verify the photo matches the customer.
  • · Verify the IDs unique features (for example, on a Washington ID, a black state seal overlaps the photo).

Sales to apparently intoxicated persons
It is against the law to sell alcohol to an apparently intoxicated person or allow them to possess alcohol.

It is important to know the signs of intoxication – such as slurred speech, difficulty focusing, and aggressive behavior – when determining if a customer should be served alcohol. A list of signs can be found at www.liq.wa.gov/enforcement/selling-responsibly.

Employees should remember that customers may have already had several drinks before coming to their restaurant, so it is important to watch for signs before the first order is placed.

If a customer is showing apparent signs, employees should not serve them and remove any alcohol they have in their possession. While the customer can remain at the restaurant as long as they are not acting disorderly, employees must make sure they don’t get alcohol from someone else.

When refusing service, employees can keep the situation calm by remaining polite, tactful and firm. The restaurant should have a policy about what to do after a sale is refused. Possibilities include offering complementary coffee or cab fare.

Conduct violations
Restaurants should intervene immediately if they see people arguing or acting aggressively in order to prevent a fight. Customers that fight may not remain at your business.

When determining whether a disorderly conduct violation has occurred, the WSLCB looks at factors such as:

  • · Did the restaurant create an environment that encouraged the behavior?
  • · Did the restaurant allow the disorderly customer to remain at the business?
  • · How did the restaurant respond to the altercation?
  • · If there were injuries, were the police and medical aid called?

Also, owners and employees are not allowed to drink while working. In addition, employees and owners may not be at their restaurant while showing signs of intoxication, whether they are working or not.

New food service requirements
While food service violations are not among the most common violations, restaurants should be aware of the food service requirements for their liquor license type.

The WSLCB this fall adopted new food requirements for spirits, beer and wine restaurants. Highlights:

  • · Expanded items that are considered an entrée to include hamburgers, salads, sandwiches, pizza and breakfast items as long as they include a side dish.
  • · Entrees do not include snack items, menu items which consist solely of precooked frozen food that is reheated, or carry-out items obtained from other businesses.
  • · Increased the number of complete meals required from four to eight. A complete meal is an entrée (steak, fish, pasta, etc.) and at least one side dish (soup, vegetables, salad, potatoes, french fries, rice, fruit, and bread).
  • · Restaurants must serve complete meals for five hours a day, five days a week between the hours of 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. Previously, the hours were between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Restaurants having problems meeting their food service requirement should look into the new spirits, beer and wine nightclub liquor license, which is for businesses that primarily provide live entertainment and serve alcohol with main hours between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. The license does not have a food requirement.

Available resources
Restaurants should take advantage of the following resources:

  • Written business policies that describe expectations and how to handle various situations should be developed, and regularly shared with employees.
  • · Mandatory Alcohol Server Training (MAST) is required by law for managers, bartenders and other employees who serve or supervise the sale of alcohol for on-premises consumption. Class information: www.liq.wa.gov/licensing/get-mast-permit.
  • · WSLCB Responsible Alcohol and Tobacco Sales classes are offered regularly around the state by WSLCB enforcement officers. Class schedules: www.liq.wa.gov/enforcement/enforcement-class-schedule.
  • · WSLCB website (www.liq.wa.gov) has information on selling responsibly and public safety laws, educational videos and more.
  • · WSLCB enforcement officers are available to help you understand liquor laws. Enforcement Customer Service: (360) 664-9878

In conclusion, restaurants can contribute to public safety and keep their customers safe by carrying out their work in a way that supports Washington’s liquor laws.

Link to required signs

Is it possible to get the alcohol service and other signs required by law for my establishment?
Yes. Required signs can be downloaded for FREE here.

Enforcement captains answer FAQs:

Enforcement captains answer more restaurant FAQs:

*The following article will appear in an upcoming edition of the Washington Restaurant Association’s The Front Burner magazine. The WSLCB enforcement captains and the Washington Restaurant Association provided the questions, and the captains provided the answers.

Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) enforcement officers work with restaurants across the state to ensure compliance with state liquor and tobacco laws. Officers review every case based on the totality of the circumstances. On any given situation, officers try to take a reasonable approach before making an enforcement decision.

LCB officers answer regularly asked questions below:

Why and when might a restaurant be visited by an LCB officer?
Generally, officers visit locations based on area needs, which are determined by licensing activities, requests for education and technical assistance, complaints from the public or law enforcement, police referral, LCB violation history, and DUI information. Also, if an officer is visiting a specific business, he or she will often stop in at nearby businesses at the same time. License types also determine the frequency of visits. For example, nightclubs will receive more visits than a family beer/wine restaurant.

There are four situations when an officer might visit:

* Compliance checks: An undercover investigative aide attempts to purchase liquor or tobacco using their real ID. These aides are accompanied by LCB officers.
* A premises check: An officer answers questions, offers training, discusses issues, makes sure proper signs are displayed, etc.
* A complaint investigation: See question below.
* An undercover operation: Officers visit a business unannounced in order to observe the business and watch for violations. A second team of officers may be in place to assist. The operations are typically carried out based on DUI history, complaints, and police referrals.

Someone filed a “complaint” with the LCB about my restaurant for a liquor law violation. What happens now?
A complaint is an allegation that the restaurant violated state liquor or tobacco laws. A complaint may come from a customer, law enforcement officer, member of the public, or employee.

Generally, the LCB officer will notify the restaurant of the allegation and conduct an investigation into the facts, which could include interviews with staff or a review of security tapes. If the officer is able to verify a violation occurred or finds it is still occurring, administrative action could be taken. The officer will normally perform two unannounced follow-up checks at the restaurant. Having an unfounded complaint on your record does not negatively impact your violation history.

Can a customer under the age of 21 pick up a tab that includes an alcoholic beverage? For example, a 19-year-old pays with his credit card because his dad forgot his wallet and the bill included a couple beers.
It is against the law to sell alcohol to a person under 21 or purchase alcohol if you are under 21.

Restaurants should be aware that physical evidence such as the receipt could be used to support allegations that the restaurant furnished alcohol to a minor. Outside of witnesses, it would be difficult to determine who actually consumed the alcohol.

Can restaurants offer free samples?
Retail licenses such as restaurants cannot give free samples. A customer must purchase alcohol at or above the restaurant’s acquisition cost.

Can restaurants accept a Washington Temporary Driver License (paper license)?
Checking identification is an important part of ensuring legal sales. You can accept a Washington Temporary Driver License, but you are not required to and some businesses do not. Remember, the expiration date at the bottom comes 45 days after issuance. Restaurants can choose which forms of acceptable IDs they will allow and many businesses develop policies about which kinds of ID can be accepted.

Acceptable forms of ID:

* Driver License, ID Card, or Instruction Permit issued by any U.S. state or Canadian province
* Washington Temporary Driver License
* U.S. Military ID
* Official Passport
* Merchant Marine ID
* Washington State Tribal Enrollment Card

A valid ID must show:

* Date of birth
* Signature (except U.S. Military IDs)
* Photo
* Expiration date (except Tribal Enrollment Cards)

When does my Mandatory Alcohol Server Training (MAST) permit expire?
Class 12 Mixologist Permits and Class 13 Servers Permits are valid for five years. The permits expire on the first day of the month after the month you took your test. For example, if you took the test on Oct. 20, the permit expires on Nov. 1.

To renew your permit, you must successfully complete another MAST course prior to the permit’s expiration date. Class information is available on the LCB Web site at www.liq.wa.gov.

How does Daylight Savings Time affect hours?
Restaurants should change their clocks at 2 a.m. In the fall, you can remain open an “extra” hour when the time “falls back” from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m., if you choose. In the spring, you will need to turn your clock “ahead” an hour from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m., not losing any hours of alcohol service.

Can I lock my door while patrons are still inside?
No, your restaurant must remain unlocked and open to the general public if liquor is sold, served or consumed at your business. Contact your enforcement officer for special one-time approval.

When do minors have to be out of my premises if I have entertainment after 11 p.m.?
Restaurants who want to use their dining areas as entertainment venues after 11 p.m. have two options:

1. If a dining area is used as a live entertainment venue after 11 p.m. and alcohol is served, the restaurant must classify the dining area as a lounge and restrict access to adults only.
2. The restaurant may operate its dining area as an entertainment venue after 11 p.m. and allow minors to be present if it provides notice to the LCB 48 hours in advance that sales and service of alcohol will cease at 11 p.m.

During an LCB “sting,” my bartender sold alcohol to the LCB’s underage operative after checking his real ID. How do I minimize the likelihood of a similar violation?
Most compliance check failures come after an employee asked for and looked at ID.

The LCB regularly offers free “Responsible Alcohol and Tobacco Sales” classes with topics such as checking ID. You can also ask your LCB officer about in-house controlled purchase programs, which allow a business to use underage “secret shoppers” to check compliance.

There are also numerous Point of Sale devices that calculate a customer’s age when an employee keys in date of birth or scans the ID.

How can I help my employees follow state liquor laws?
There is no one in a better position to promote compliance than the restaurant’s own management. You should regularly speak with employees about checking ID, refusing sales to apparently intoxicated patrons and other liquor laws. It is imperative that you have written policies addressing your expectations. If you see an employee merely glancing at ID or serving someone who looks intoxicated, intervene and remind them of your expectations. Your LCB officer can answer any questions about liquor laws. By consistently following state liquor laws and your own policies, you can minimize liability to yourself, your employees and your customers.