[maxgallery id=”46745″]By Tad Sooter (Kitsap Sun) – June 6, 2016
BREMERTON — It’s said neither “snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night” will stop the mail, but the sight of legalized marijuana stores has apparently stalled one Bremerton letter carrier.
Operators of two recreational marijuana stores on Callow Avenue — Pacific Cannabis Co. and The Reef — say they’ve had trouble getting mail delivered to their shops in the past month, since a new U.S. Postal Service worker took over the route. They say the carrier frequently refuses to enter their stores and won’t drop off mail unless an employee comes outside to collect it. They noted the same carrier routinely walks inside surrounding businesses to deliver and pick up mail.
Pacific Cannabis owner Kathy Hartwell provided security footage to the Kitsap Sun that shows the carrier handing a package to a bewildered customer on the sidewalk in front of the store instead of carrying it inside. Hartwell said mail addressed to Pacific Cannabis is often left at the arcade next door, which she also owns. The erratic deliveries have caused Hartwell to miss packages that require the recipient’s signature.
“This is a serious problem for my business,” Hartwell wrote in a letter to Bremerton Postmaster Harry Kleinfelter “… I expect the carrier to enter my business to deliver mail and to pick up outgoing mail, the same as any other licensed business in the state …”
Hartwell and a manager at The Reef said the post office requested they install mail drop boxes outside their shops. Both said that solution would be expensive and impractical
Kleinfelter referred questions about the marijuana store complaints to regional Postal Service spokesman Ernie Swanson. The Sun contacted Swanson on Wednesday. The next day, Swanson said the carrier had been instructed to deliver to the businesses. But Hartwell said Monday that she still was not receiving mail at the proper address. Swanson did not immediately respond to a follow-up inquiry.
While legal for adults in Washington, recreational marijuana remains federally illegal. The disconnect between state and federal law has created some conflicts between legalized marijuana businesses and federal agencies. However, Swanson confirmed the Postal Service’s policy is to deliver mail to recreational marijuana businesses in the same way it would for any other customer.