Marijuana shop not welcome at mall

Co-owner of Chalet Mall in Yakima says applicant didn't consult owners first

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An entrepreneur who applied with the state to open a marijuana retail store in Yakima's Chalet Mall Shopping Center will have to find another location if he's granted a license.

The applicant never spoke to the shopping center owners about his or her intentions, according to Chalet Mall co-owner Bill Moultray, who said there's no way a marijuana business would get approval to move in to the shopping center.

"I consider it right up there with a smut shop," Moultray said.

The business, identified only as Green Gulch Inc. in records released Tuesday by the state Liquor Control Board, also filed to open a store at 6400 Nob Hill Blvd., where currently the only building on site is a Walgreens. Attempts to reach the property owner this week were unsuccessful.

Moultray, who deals with current and prospective tenants at the Chalet Mall, said he received numerous complaints from tenants and area residents after the state records listed the Chalet Mall as a prospective location for a marijuana store. He said some tenants threatened to leave the building if a marijuana shop moved in.

Moultray said he has no idea who the owner of Green Gulch is. Records released earlier this week by the liquor board do no list an owner.

"I never talked to them and I would refuse to talk with them to begin with," Moultray said.

The shopping center hosts numerous businesses, including a Wray's grocery store, Starbucks and Inklings book store. Chalet Mall houses a liquor store as well, which Moultray also co-owns.

Eighteen applications have been filed for marijuana retail stores in Yakima County so far, with six of them listing locations in the city of Yakima. City Council members are expected to pass a ban on such businesses early next year.

The state's weekly releases of marijuana license applications merely acknowledge the filings have been received. Investigators with the liquor board are now in the process of vetting the applications, which includes interviews, background checks and other criteria in order to be deemed eligible.

The state is expected to begin granting licenses in February. If more than 14 businesses qualify for retail licenses in Yakima County, those will be awarded by a lottery.