The pot smoking lounge of the White Horse Inn in Del Norte was only open for a few hours on December 31 before owner Paul Lovato says he decided to pull the plug due to growing pressure from local law enforcement and his landlord.
Owner Paul Lovato told Westword today that the Del Norte chief of police called his landlord and explained that Lovato's pot shop was in a legal gray area.The landlord subsequently called Lovato with his concerns, and Lovato agreed to shut down his pot lounge -- but the White Horse Inn remains open as a coffee shop for now.
Other news outlets have reported that the landlord pulled his lease, but Lovato says the two reached a mutual agreement in a post made on the White Horse Inn Facebook page:
"To clarify...I had no Landlord dispute! I had an agreement with a family man and an understanding that in a small community his families reputation or possibly well being would be threatened or compromised. There was never a dispute. There was a conversation between men and an agreement made. Nothing more, nothing less. Second, we have not closed our doors, technically! My door is open, and White Horse Inn is still very much alive. My dream of giving cannabis to the world and to anyone who would like to enjoy with me is still open and alive and active. God has blessed us with this plant (Gen 1:29) and who an I to argue with something He made and called good? He knows more than me. So again, our building is gone...but we are not closed! I'm sure there were more inconsistencies, but those are the ones that stuck out and I'll address anymore if they come to mind. Thanks, all! God bless!"
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Lovato says he has met with a potential new landlord who sought him out based on the media coverage of the pot lounge. He was tight-lipped about his future plans, but told us that he hopes to re-open in the new location by April 20 of this year.
"It's in a very pot-friendly community," he hints. "Whatever my plan was to begin with is completely out the door, and this is Amendment 64 to the fullest. It's going to be big."