State Liquor Control Board officials said Friday that 10 businesses in Kennewick, Pasco, West Richland and Benton City were cited for selling alcohol to minors after they failed compliance checks.
Board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter told the Herald the checks were performed on 19 businesses Feb. 14.
The board's compliance checks involve sending a person between the ages of 18 and 20 into places that sell alcohol -- using their own valid driver's licenses or identification cards -- and having them attempt to buy alcohol.
State law doesn't allow the sale of alcohol to anyone under 21. If the minors are successful in buying booze, the store gets a citation.
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The 10 businesses cited included bars, liquor stores, mini marts and a golf course. Nine were cited for selling beer or wine.
Pasco Liquor Store was cited for selling liquor -- its third citation in two years. Carpenter said selling hard liquor doubles the penalties and coupled with the previous violations, the Pasco Liquor Store faces a possible 60-day suspension of its liquor license.
The penalty for a first violation is a five-day suspension or $500 fine, Carpenter said.
Businesses have 20 days to respond to the citations. If they fail to respond, a mandatory suspension kicks in.
How alcohol is sold in the state changed June 1, 2012, with the privatization of liquor sales, which previously were the domain of state-run liquor stores.
Voters in November 2011 approved Initiative 1183 allowing liquor to be sold in places such as grocery and convenience stores and directing that the state sell off its own retail liquor stores. The initiative also set the penalties for sales to minors.
Businesses cited were: Tienda Y Carniceria, Dale Avenue, Benton City; Just A Minute Mart, Ninth Avenue, Benton City; White Buddha Lounge, North Louisiana Street, Kennewick; Red Lion Columbia Center, North Columbia Center Boulevard, Kennewick; Twigs, North Columbia Center Boulevard, Kennewick; The Pub, West Clearwater Avenue, Kennewick; Pasco Liquor Store, West Court Street, Pasco; West Richland Beer and Wine Shop, West Van Giesen Street, West Richland; West Richland Municipal Golf Course, Fallon Drive, West Richland; and Ty's Bar & Grill, Van Giesen Street, West Richland.