Olympia bar owner: Weed smoking is welcome, state can 'go to Hell'
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A controversial Olympia sports bar recently had its liquor license suspended for allowing patrons to smoke marijuana, but the bar's owner is defying the order -- and it's not the first time for Frankie Schnarrs.
Schnarrs is the owner of Frankie's Sports Pub and he isn't afraid to stand up to the state and local government.
"I want them to take my license from me. They can go to Hell. Get out of here. Get off my property," he said.
Schnarrs doesn't hold back when it comes to what he believes is his right to operate his sports bar the way he wants.
Ten years ago he led the fight against the state smoking ban. He turned his upstairs bar into a "private club," skirting the county ordinances. And recently he allowed the smoking of marijuana in designated areas of the upstairs bar.
Mike Gosselin is a recreational marijuana smoker.
"I smoke. I'll go in the back. Certain tables you're not allowed to smoke around on this side of the bar so I go on the back side of the bar where it's legal," he said.
But the state liquor and Cannabis Board said it's not legal, citing last year's legislative action signed into law. "It is unlawful for any person to conduct or maintain a marijuana club," the law reads.
"This is a private room," said Schnarrs. "It's not a marijuana club. That's what they don't get."
Last year the board slapped Schnarrs with a $500 fine, and when he didn't pay it they slapped a sign on his door saying the liquor license was suspended for 5 days.
Not only did Schnarrs not pay the fine, he didn't abide by the suspension of the liquor license. He continues to sell alcohol and let people smoke marijuana.
Schnarrs says he considers this harassment by the government and he's suing to get them to cease and desist. In the meantime, life at the bar goes on.
"There is no violation of the Liquor Board. It's all in their head," Schnarrs said.
The board now knows about the continued drinking and pot smoking, but they have not disclosed what if anything will be done. The liquor license suspension officially ends at 11 a.m. Tuesday.