A downtown Lafayette nightclub has been barred from serving alcohol for six months after undercover agents spotted patrons smoking marijuana there on three occasions over the past two years.
Southland Entertainment — which owns and operates b.e.d. Niteclub and Lounge on Jefferson Street — must also pay a $5,000 fine in the penalty handed down Thursday.
Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Troy Hebert said a proposal from the club on how it would curb future drug use came up short of meeting the expectations of regulators.
“Just looking at it and hearing the testimony, obviously this didn’t rank up there very high that this was something they thought was serious,” Hebert said on Thursday.
Manager and co-owner Justin Lee appeared on the company’s behalf at a Sept. 14 hearing on b.e.d.’s third-offense citation for marijuana use at the facility. He agreed to submit a plan that week detailing how he planned to stop patrons from using drugs at the club.
Measures proposed included stringent searches for paraphernalia at the door and an immediate removal of any person caught using marijuana, or any illegal substance, inside the club, according to a copy of the proposal. Repeat offenders would be banned for good.
Other ideas included adding signs indicating drug use is not allowed inside the club, along with announcements warning undercover agents may be in the building. The club also pledged to add security workers, designate a specific smoking area for tobacco use and submit monthly reports to the ATC on its efforts.
“There was nothing in these new set of proposed rules that really made me comfortable,” Hebert said.
The suspension is effective at noon on Friday. Lee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the Lafayette Metro Narcotics Task Force’s third visit to the club this summer, in August, an agent issued two citations against the club after he said he witnessed two men near the DJ booth smoking blunts, or marijuana rolled inside cigar paper, according to testimony in the hearing last week.
Southland Entertainment and Hebert’s office reached an agreement in late 2013 after the club netted two citations for the same offense. At the time, Hebert suspended the club’s alcohol permit for 60 days and reduced its fine from $10,000 to $5,000 upon an agreement the weed use would stop.
Follow Lanie Lee Cook on Twitter, @lanieleecook, or contact her by phone at (337) 534-0825.