Washington state recently passed a ballot initiative that permits marijuana smokers the ability to smoke the drug in their homes legally. Frank Schnarr, the owner of Frankie’s Sports Bar & Grill in Olympia, said that pot smokers can smoke in his establishment, according to Reuters.
“I stay up at night,” he said. “I’m about to lose my business. So I’ve got to figure out some way to get people in here.”
No one knows for sure if Schnarr is breaking the law by allowing his patrons to smoke marijuana at his establishment.
“Marijuana remains illegal under federal law,” said Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle. “I can’t tell you whether what he’s doing is legal or not.”
The city attorney for Olympia, Tom Morrill, said, “We’re looking into it. There are a lot of changes in state law right now. That’s all I can say.”
A spokesperson for the Liquor Control Board, Mikhail Carpenter, did not offer much more insight into the issue either. The Liquor Control Board has been tasked with making rules for the cultivation, processing and sale of the drug.
“The board is weighing its options with regard to Frankie’s,” he said. “It’s not perfectly crystal clear as to who this falls to.”
Schnarr was able to get around the state’s public smoking ban by renaming the second floor of his establishment as “Friends of Frankie’s” and charges those who wish to use the private room $10 per year. The private room has a staff of bartenders and is stocked with alcoholic beverages. There are also cocktail waitresses in the private room, all of whom are volunteers who are reimbursed for childcare and travel expenses. They are paid via tips.
“Frank’s ahead of the curve on (allowing marijuana use),” says Shawn Newman, Schnarr’s attorney. “A lot of other taverns, bars and restaurants would like to do this, but they didn’t have enough chutzpah to fight the smoking ban so they’re locked into non-smoking operations.”
According to Schnarr, there are over 10,000 members of the private room and 40 have joined since he announced that marijuana is welcome at the site.
“I’ll have security in here, and if I see a bunch of guys just trying to get ripped, they’re gone,” he said.
One of the patrons, Chris Sapp, has been a member of Frankie’s for quite some time now.
“If I wasn’t a friend of Frankie’s already I’d be one now because you can come here and smoke and feel free,” he said. “That’s how it should be. We shouldn’t have to hide weed.”