Four pot stores cited for selling to minors

    Four marijuana retailers in Jackson County, including two in Medford, flunked this area's first-ever Oregon Liquor Control Commission cannabis sting operation last month when they were caught selling pot to minors.

    Hijinx, Cannabiz Experience, Rogue River Herbal and Rogue River Cannabis likely will face fines.

    "We goofed during a rush, and we made a mistake," said Robert Weinger, owner Cannabiz Experience. "Accidents do happen, and we are human."

    Learning from his mistake, Weinger is training his employees and himself to do a better job of checking identification and constantly reminding each other to check. He said his store also will seek training from the OLCC.

    Anyone dealing with a customer must say "expiration good, birthday good" after they've checked identification.

    He said the employee who was caught in the sting has been pretty upset over it.

    "She took it very personally," Weinger said.

    He said the employee did ask to see identification but failed to look carefully at the birth date.

    "The OLCC did its job," Weinger said. "Because of my mistake, it shined the light on where I need to pay attention. Myself, as a leader, I didn't instill it in my folks all day long that this is a priority."

    OLCC spokesman Mark Pettinger said the sting operation that started Dec. 20 went to 86 retailers statewide, and 16 failed.

    He said that none of the failures were the result of any kind of deliberate action among the cannabis stores.

    "Nothing was egregious," he said.

    He said that selling to a minor can result in a 10- to 30-day license suspension or a fine of $1,650, depending on whether the sale was deliberate.

    "I would suspect most people will pay the fine," he said.

    Southern Oregon's failure rate — four of 12, or 33 percent, of those that were checked — was more than double the rest of the state, which showed a 16 percent failure rate.

    In Portland, however, four of the seven stores subjected to the sting failed. In the Eugene-Springfield area, of the 19 stores checked, three failed.

    Based on the sting operation, cannabis stores have an overall statewide compliance rate of 81 percent, compared with 78 percent for stores selling alcohol.

    Pettinger said many of the stores that failed didn't have automatic age verification systems that scan in identification cards.

    — Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or Follow him on

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