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Was Seattle’s biggest ‘Pot Shop’ too high to pay new minimum wage?

(AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

(AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

Liberals love the idea of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour just as much as they support pot legalization, but when the two are mixed together, some things get lost in the fray.

The Stranger reported that Seattle’s most successful cannabis retailer, Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop, forgot to pay their employees the new minimum wage.

Seattle’s current minimum wage for tipped employees is $10.50 an hour, but one of the pot shop’s staff members, Nicole Stotts, noticed she was only being paid $10 an hour.

Stotts confronted Lia Yagelowich, who handles the payroll for Uncle Ike’s, about the situation and was told that the store was deducting her tips from her total salary, allowing them to underpay her.

The employee filed a complaint with the Office of Labor Standards, which found Uncle Ike’s guilty of ignoring the new minimum wage laws.

Uncle Ike’s later admitted that they had in fact underpaid their staff and said it was due to misinformation about the new minimum wage laws given to them by their human resources firm, which operates out of Spokane.

The pot shop now owes Stotts back pay on what she earned, but will not receive an automatic penalty from the city.

“[The] embarrassing part is, I really followed the whole living-wage deal and thought to myself about people not understanding it, with all the outreach, ‘How could they be so dumb?'” said Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg. “Just needed a mirror.”

“I feel shitty about this one, because I was pretty psyched the city did the minimum-wage law,” he continued.

Stotts complained that she is still paid too little for her work and said if her boss actually cared about a living waged, he’d increase her pay.

“They sell over a million dollars in product a month, and they pay poverty wages,” she said. “They tell you that you should feel lucky working there and that the tips are ‘amazing!’ But in reality, you make $15 an hour including tips, and that’s still a low wage.”

Shows that liberalism, marijuana, and minimum wage laws don’t always add up.


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