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Area's only pot shop opened Sunday at Smokey Point
SMOKEY POINT — While one recreational marijuana retailer prepares to open locally this weekend, the Arlington City Council found itself divided over the permitting of its producers and processors.
Brad Kihm and his mother, Lisa, will open the doors to Cascade Kropz at 19129 Smokey Point Blvd. on Sunday, July 13, starting at 11 a.m. But before they welcome their first customers, they've already taken precautions to ensure the safety of their business and customers.
"My background in the telecommunications industry helped me set up the surveillance and security systems around our facility," Brad said. "The level of traceability is intense."
The Kihms have drawn not only on their years of experience in retail, but also the advice of family members and friends.
"This is literally a family business," Lisa said.
Cascade Krops will conduct ID screening in the front lobby and require patrons to be buzzed into the shopping area, but Brad and Lisa touted these measures as much for their customers' peace of mind as their own.
"We based the layout on medical marijuana dispensaries," Brad said. "We don't want a free-for-all of people just walking in and out. We're trying to get them in and out as quick as possible, which is why we're also looking to post menus and product information, so they can know what they want by the time they're able to order."
No patrons will have access to any products, except through the store's staff, and no oversized bags or purses will be allowed, to prevent theft.
"This is a new industry, so we want our customers to be completely comfortable coming in here," Brad said.
As per state law, customers must be over 21 and are limited to 1 ounce of usable marijuana, 16 ounces of marijuana-infused products, 7 grams of marijuana concentrates or 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquid.
"For right now, we're just selling the dried flowers," Brad said. "There aren't any state-approved kitchens for recreational marijuana edibles yet, even though there are several for medical marijuana edibles.
"Everything we sell is grown and tested right here in Washington," he added. "By the time that seed sprouts, the state has already put a bar code on that plant. It would be very hard to cheat this system."
The Kihms sought to reassure their neighbors that they plan to be productive members of the community, not only by maintaining relatively low prices in spite of the currently sparse supply of recreational marijuana products, but also by giving back to community service organizations.
"Twenty-five percent of what we make goes to the state, and none of it goes to any illegal enterprises," Brad said. "We know that close to half the voters didn't approve of legalizing marijuana, so we want to go above and beyond to prove that we're not just some get-rich-quick operation. We're in this for the long run."
While the Kihms expressed their appreciation to the city for facilitating the establishment, city officials voiced their concerns to the City Council July 7 about the number of producers and processors who have listed Arlington as their proposed location.
When Community and Economic Development Director Paul Ellis proposed a 90-day moratorium on accepting new applications, beyond the eight that have already been received, council member Chris Raezer took issue with its hasty placement on the council agenda.
"The state Liquor Control Board has issued weekly updates," Raezer said, noting that the 47 pre-applications for producers and processors that have listed locations in Arlington are "nothing new. Why is this an emergency now?"
When Ellis explained the number had just recently been brought to city staff's attention, Raezer objected to how the ordinance was brought to the council, which he believed allowed them insufficient time to discuss the issue.
Council member Debora Nelson echoed Ellis' view that the issue is time-sensitive due to the number of pre-applicants.
"That would take a large chunk of our industrial space without producing a lot of jobs," Ellis said.
"We should be preserving space to bring more industry into town," Nelson added. "Just the eight marijuana producers and processors whose applications are already in development is quite a few for our town."
Nelson joined council members Dick Butner, Marilyn Oertle and Jesica Stickles in voting for the moratorium, while Raezer was joined by Jan Schuette and Randy Tendering in voting against it.
Meanwhile, the Marysville City Council voted unanimously April 28 to continue the city's moratorium on recreational marijuana processors, producers and retailers.
Council member Jeff Vaughan harbored similar concerns to Ellis and Nelson, about what such marijuana businesses would do to the industrial areas in north Marysville that his city is trying to develop in conjunction with Arlington, while Marysville Police Cmdr. Robb Lamoureux pointed out that marijuana remains a controlled substance under federal law.
"How would they look at Marysville if we embrace these marijuana establishments?" Vaughan asked.
"The feds could change their mind or their stance on how they treat marijuana at any time," Lamoureux added.