Church sues to shut down marijuana shop at 23rd/Union, change way Seattle zones pot

Pastor Witherspoon assists Mt Zion's Reverend Samuel B. McKinney with the bullhorn at a rally against Uncle Ike's in October (Image: CHS)

Pastor Witherspoon assists Mt Zion’s Reverend Samuel B. McKinney with the bullhorn at a rally against Uncle Ike’s in October (Image: CHS)

Opening weekend at Uncle Ike's (Image: CHS)

Opening weekend at Uncle Ike’s (Image: CHS)

The Central District church that turned to prayer and protest when it suddenly found itself neighboring Seattle’s second I-502 marijuana retailer is taking its case to close Uncle Ike’s to an even higher power — King County Superior Court.

The Seattle Times reports that Mount Calvary Christian Center is suing to shut Uncle Ike’s down:

The suit alleges that Uncle Ike’s was allowed to open despite being about 250 feet from a teen recreation center. It says the city and state did not perform due diligence in allowing Uncle Ike’s to open.

The church and community center ask the court to revoke Uncle Ike’s license and direct the city of Seattle to set up measures that would require it to let communities weigh in before potential marijuana stores are approved.

The Times reports Mount Calvary’s Pastor Reggie Witherspoon told the paper that Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg needs to take the “community’s concerns” more seriously.

Ike’s, the WSLCB and the City of Seattle are all reportedly named in the lawsuit which has not yet been filed.

We have asked Eisenberg to comment on the suit and will update when we hear back.Screen-Shot-2014-10-14-at-11.03.01-AM-400x226 (1)Uncle Ike’s opened in late September as Seattle’s second legal recreational pot retailer. Despite a protest and rallies lead by Mount Calvary in the shop’s first weekend, the new store did boffo business in its first week averaging more than $13,000 in sales — per day.

Meanwhile, another I-502 license holder appears to be gearing up for a new marijuana shop just a few blocks away on E Union. That building, by the way, is currently used as a mosque.

During Mount Calvary’s first rally, Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell told CHS he was beginning a review of how the shop was allowed to open at the intersection in such close proximity to the church and the center.

CHS looked at the way the state and City of Seattle shaped the city’s marijuana “zoning” — and the possibility for better local control — following the protest.

Uncle Ike’s is a CHS advertiser.

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77 thoughts on “Church sues to shut down marijuana shop at 23rd/Union, change way Seattle zones pot

  1. “Pastor Reggie Witherspoon told the paper that Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg needs to take the “community’s concerns” more seriously.”

    Maybe Pastor Witherspoon should take his responsibilities as a “community leader” a little more seriously? Where was his involvement during the permitting process? Everyone else in the community knew way before store opening this intersection was being discussed as “ground zero” for Seattle pot sales. I didn’t read anything about them objecting to the store beforehand. Did they try and get nowhere?

  2. Oh please, never going to happen. How about I sue to shut down a church so close to my house where I’m trying to raise a family. That shop is the one place in this neighborhood where my kid can’t buy pot. I’ll bet there is at least a dozen people in that church every Sunday with weed in their pockets, cars, or homes. What a bunch of tax dodging hypocrites.

  3. The argument that the store is about 250 feet from a teen recreation center is completely hollow. On the opposite corner is a liquor store, which is also about 250 feet from a teen recreation center. Both alcohol and weed are legal, so if they want one gone they need to protest to have the other gone too.

    If we can start picking and choosing what legally sanctioned businesses can operate near us, I will start asking the city to remove all of the churches in my neighborhood.

    • The gas station that sells beer and blunts is even closer than 250 feet from the decrepit crap shack they are calling the “teen rec center.” It’s right next to it.

      • NWCommenter is not calling for prohibition. It’s a common sense suggestion to not allow alcohol sales at gas stations….anything that can be done to discourage drunk driving is a good thing. Yes, I know, a driver can just get it somewhere else, but that doesn’t mean this is not a valid idea.

      • Obviously you are from the church trolling for attention just like you pastor. Apparently you don’t read your bible and forgot how to humble yourself? Did you also forget you are commanded by God to follow the law of the land, because has put them there? Romans 13:1-7.

  4. This church has enough money for frivolous litigation, and that is evidence they can, and should, be paying taxes.

    This tax-free church is waging war on a tax-paying business, and that ain’t right.

    Chances are, the court will probably see this as harassment litigation.

  5. I wounder how much of the Ike’s sales stated in that chart are taxes. The voters of Washington State have spoken. Weed is legal here. If you want to meddle in politics you’d better anti up just like the rest of us tax payers. Right in between those two green bars is the one that shows what the church pays in taxes. You can’t see it because it’s zero. If that church knows what’s good for them they’ll keep quiet lest the people of Washington vote away their tax free ride.

  6. There’s no way anything will actually happen. They are in a neighborhood commercial zone, and selling pot is legal. Good luck dudes.

  7. Churches should be prevented from operating next to schools like strip clubs are. Children should be protected from churches which have proven over and over again to cause harm to children. Protect children from religion !

    Children are allowed into grocery stores where beer wine and liquor is sold. Children are allowed into pharmacies where drugs are sold.

    What they are teaching the children about law, business and religion here is a prime example of why they should be kept away from children.

  8. Blessed are the weed smokers, for they shall inherit the earth.
    Blessed are the weed horticulturalists, for verily they shall marvel at the Lord’s creations.
    Blessed are the weed retailers, for lo their tax revenue shall rain down upon the virtuous and the needy.
    For ganja will descend from heaven, and the stoned among us will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the smoke clouds to meet the Lord.
    –1:16 First Letter of Paul to the Washingtonians

  9. My opinion aside, I must admit I am confused why the same rules for applying for a NEW liquor license (existing stores/licenses are “grandfathered in”) does not apply for a license to sell marijuana. From the WSLCB, regarding applying for liquor licenses: “The Officer [of the WSLCB] will inspect the neighborhood for nearby public and private schools and churches. If there are any within 500 feet of your business, they will be notified and have the chance to support or object to your application.”

    Under the Marijuana License restrictions, here are the “restricted entities”:

    Elementary or secondary school;
    • Playground;
    • Recreation center or facility;
    • Child care center;
    • Public park;
    • Public transit center;
    • Library; or
    • Any game arcade (where admission is not restricted to persons age twenty-one or older).

    Why the different lists and distances?

    Just for the sake of comparison, New York has a 200/500 foot rule: http://www.nyc.gov/html/mancb3/downloads/cb3docs/sla-200-500ft-rule.pdf

      • Spot on. Until they decide to join the rest of the rational world, pay some damn taxes, and respect the govt process that also allows them to operate in the manner that they do, they can piss right off.

        That members are here under the guise of “decency” and “community” is so laughable I can’t believe it. Also, Ike’s is probably loving the Streisand effect this is causing for their sales.

    • I think getting a notification that a pot shop is going to open on your block sounds appropriate to me. We already receive notifications for when property lots in the neighborhood are to be divided and many new construction sites are required to post information visible to the public.

      I think the community certainly expected that a pot shop would be opening at 23rd and Union, but it certainly wasn’t clear to me exactly how that would happen. There have been rumors about Eisenberg’s intentions and that big new cinder block building looked like a good bet, but I hadn’t seen any official information posted until Capitol Hill Seattle put up their story.

      • Not knowing that there was going to be a pot shop right next door just goes to show how far detached that church is from the community they are in.

      • I read in the confines of the I-502 info on the w.w.w. that; “Notice is NOT require to be posted in order to gain approval from for acquiring permit and Retail Sale/Use. Look it up like I did…it’s out there. Secondly, I found out that Ian Eisenberg wasn’t the actual ‘winner’ the have the license, but rather he himself acquired it from the ‘original’ winner and thusly opened up Ike’s, since already having the correct property, building, capital and such. And furthermore, about the proximity rule..it also states that it is measured in a “STRAIGHT LINE”. Not, straight out across the street (from Ike’s front doors) to the sidewalk, then turn right and proceed on to the ‘teen center’ the Church is stating. I’m just saying…

  10. so stupid. they’d rather have gangbangers and ne’er do wells selling it on the street than have a legitimately run business. why didn’t they protest outside the grocery store when they started selling alcohol? they’re a bunch of fools that do not represent us.

  11. The guy that runs this church is a homophobic attention whore. Now that he lost the gay-marriage battle he’s just looking for something else to get his name back in the news. His followers should be appalled that this is how he wants to spend their money. I hope the church goes bankrupt. The fewer churches in this world the less war and hate their will be.

    • Seriously. The entire congregation should be madder than hornets at their pastor for being so totally oblivious to what was going on around them until it’s too late.
      DaysLate=1
      $$ Short=1
      /end

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  13. These poor confused souls need to pray & focus their efforts in a REAL cause! They have admitted they screwed the pooch by not buying up the land when they had a chance. Their leader drives a nice ass car. They don’t pay taxes or contribute to the community. If they really were concerned about their children, they would have spent the lawsuit money to remove the kids program somewhere else. Walk the walk & show & lead by example. Instead, the will be cowards behind some piece of paper & be pressured by other church orginizations! What a crock of s**t!!! You don’t care about your church members or your community! Show us where your money goes! What after school programs are you funding?! The truth is, the pot shop next door attracts middle aged women buying pot for the first time. Their security alone improves the area, they check 100% ID’s & keep minors out! Go preach you’re hatred in a real community that actually needs you & wants you! Not in a industrial area where they sell liquor, beer & smokes from a gas station across the street or next to your so called precious teen center. Go pickit the drug dealers that park & deal around the corner from the barbershop at night. What? You don’t think we see the black community selling after dark hours?! You thought they get their hair cut every night just because?!?! C’mon people! You need to sue your preacher for wasting your money & invest it in a REAL community center! Stop flapping your gums & wasting our tax dollars. Help your community & get J O B!

  14. while they blow hot air at a legal business, across the street illegal dealing and gangbangin are happening without protest… No pun intended.

    • Yes, so much for the argument offered before the I-502 vote that legalization would seriously undercut the black market and the drug cartels. This is not happening, and it’s unlikely to happen as long as there is such a price discrepancy.

  15. Who owns that church building? Whoever it is would get a way better return on investment by tearing that ratsnest down and building apartments. Problem solved.

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  17. I think it’s time to end the churches tax free ride. I would totally give my time and money to start that initiative. I’m not really sure how to start something like that Maybe for once Tim Eyman could propose an initiative that would do this state (or city) some good. I would be first in line to sign it.

    • It can be done by state. You can force churches to incorporate as a for profit business. This would disallow them from gaining 501(c)(3) status from the Federal government. Which would expose them to all of the regular business and corporate taxes at all levels of government. Only states control who can incorporate and how.

  18. THIS IS AN EXCELLENT BUSINESS FOR THE HIGHLANDS OFF 145TH AND AURORA, BROADMOOR, MADISON PARK, SEWARD PARK ETC, WHERE PEOPLE CAN AFFORD FOR THEIR MONEY TO “GO UP IN SMOKE”???. AS FAR AS A “WEED AND SEED” CRIME STORE ON 23RD AND UNION??? ONLY A COMMUNITY OUTSIDER, DESTROYER, “WANNA BE GENTRIFIER / EHTNIC CLEANSER LIKE IAN OR A “CIRCUS CLOWN” WOULD ATTEMPT TO ADD TO THE MURDER COUNT ON THIS BLOCK CURRENTLY AT 6 (LARRY WARD 1970, CHICAGO NATIVE 1990s (IN FRONT OF HELEN’S / TOMPSON’S VIEW POINT / NEIGHBOR LADIES, BOTH OWNERS OF FORMER BUSINESS BEFORE MED MIX (ARSON FIRE ENDING) ONE OWNER MURDERED INSIDE BUILDING THE OTHER NEAR BY (1990s), AARON ROBERTS (2001), AND KEVIN BROWN (2014),
    WOW WHAT HISTORY NOT INCLUDING THE “FERGUSON STYLE” RIOTING ON THIS CORNER (1968, 1969) AND FORMER MAYOR PAUL SHELL’S ACCIDENT (2001)??? TWO SAYINGS APPLY, ONE “BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, YOU JUST MIGHT GET IT” AND TWO, “THOSE THAT DO NOT LEARN FROM HISTORY ARE BOUND TO REPEAT IT”. 23RD AND UNION HAS BEEN / IS THE CENTER OF AFRICATOWN / CD SINCE THE 1950s. HOW WOULD I KNOW??? BEEN LIVING WITH IN 15 BLOCKS OF 23RD AND UNION SINCE 1946 INCLUDING DIRECTLY BEHIND POST OFFICE ON 24TH. PLEASE RESEARCH AND THEN FILE LAWSUIT AS TO HOW IAN ENDED UP WITH “WEED AND SEED” STORE WITH OUT WINING “WEED LOTTERY’???? STAY TUNED THE BATTLE IS AT THE STARTING LINE BUT THE END IS VERY EASY TO SEE??? NO ONE BUT A FOOL WOULD BE FORE A “WEED AND SEED” CRIME STORE TO ADD TO THE CONFLICT ON UNION?? TEAR DOWN THE “WEED STORE” NOT LIBERTY BANK??????? “IT TAKES A VILLAGE (AFRICATOWN AND CHINATOWN) TO RAISE A CHILD”. SEE YOU ON THE CORNER OF 23RD AND UNION DAILY. Omari Tahir, FOUNDER / PRESIDENT AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE MUSEUM AND CULTURE CENTER, AFRICATOWN / CHINATOWN SUPPORTER.
    Reply ↓
    Omari Tahir on Monday, September 29, 2014 – 1:31 am said:
    BY THE WAY DON’T FORGET TO CONTACT THE MAYOR, CITY COUNCIL PEOPLE AND YOUR LAWYER ABOUT THIS ASININE IDEA TO PUT A “WEED AND SEED” CRIME STORE ON 23RD AND UNION WHILE POLITICIANS WALK THE STREETS AGAINST CRIME AND WASTE MORE TAX DOLLAR$$$$$ HIRING 100 MORE UPRODUCTIVE TAX DRAINING ANGRY AND VIOLENT GOVERNMENT STREET AGENTS WITH GUNS AND BADGES WITH LITTLE EDUCATION (MEDICAL DOCTOR WITH OPERATING KNIFE AND ONLY HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA)??? WHAT ABOUT HIRING 100 MORE TEACHERS FOR MADRONA, LESHI, STEVENS, WASHINGTON, MEANY, GARFIELD ECT WITH COLLEGE DEGREES (MASTERS AND PHDs FOR CHEAPER PRICE??? Omari Tahir

      • Seriously Omar, if you want people to actually READ your rants, you need to dial down the ALL CAPS by about 95%. As for me (and I would suspect nearly everyone else here), whenever I see one of these I just move on, so you’re just wasting a lot of time, effort, bile and electrons for no useful purpose.

  19. FAQ:

    There was a question about later location of “sensitive uses” (schools, libraries, etc.) within the 1,000-foot setback. You mentioned that you wouldn’t pull a license in this scenario. My follow up question is whether you would consider the location of the sensitive land use in the yearly re-licensing decision.

    Answer:

    Once a license is issued by the WSLCB based on application of the requirements of law and rule, we do not anticipate seeking cancellation or non-renewal of that license based simply on the movement of “sensitive use” within the 1,000-foot buffer of that licensed location. Once issued, any intent to cancel or revoke that license will require due process for the license holder and likely an administrative hearing.

    http://www.mrsc.org/subjects/legal/502/landuse502.aspx

  20. FAQ on the Marijuana Initiative, I-502:

    What about all of the expected new revenue
    from legal marijuana sales? The initiative created
    a specific new taxing scheme. The initiative
    provides for a 25% excise tax at each transaction
    point (producer to processor, processor to retailer,
    and retailer to consumer). The taxes will be placed
    in a dedicated marijuana fund. After quarterly
    distributions of $1.25 million for LCB administration
    and $180,000 to other specific programs, the taxes
    will be distributed as follows:
     50% to the state’s Basic Health Plan
     19.07% to the state general fund
     15% to the Department of Social & Health
    Services for behavioral health & recovery
     10% to the Department of Health for
    marijuana education & public health
     5% to Community Health Centers
     1% to the UW and WSU for research on the
    short- and long-term effects of marijuana
    use
     0.03% to the Building Bridges Programs

  21. The individual who owns the marijuana shop next to Mount Calvary Church. Also owns the property under construction to build apartments kitty corner from that business on 23rd and Union. What a wonderful human being, always thinking of community, other people and children.

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  23. SUNDAY OCT 19TH 2014 OMARI TAHIR CAUGHT IAN EISENBERG STEALING HIS PROTEST SIGNS. OMARI ON BICYCLE INTERCEPTED THE THIEF AND DEMANDED HIS SIGNS. EISENBERG DROPPED THE SIGNS AND STOOD ON THEM AND DEMAND OMARI GET OFF HIS PROPERTY. OMARI RESPONDED ” EVERYONE KNOWS THIS IS NATIVE AMERICAN PROPERTY AND IAN YOU ARE A ‘COLUMBUS TYPE EUROPEAN SETTLER / OCCUPIER COLONIAL TERRORIST’. EISENBERG THEN ORDERED HIS GOON TO PUT OMARI OFF “HIS” PROPERTY. EISENBERG AND HIS GOON THEN PHYSICALLY ASSAULTED OMARI. OMARI AS USUAL NEUTRALIZED THE ATTACK AND EIsENBERG THEN CALLED THE POLICE THAT WERE PARKED ON 24TH AND UNION BESIDES THE HISTORIC LIBERTY BANK? THE POLICE REFUSED TO RESPOND WHEN IN FORMED THAT THE PERSON HE WANTED REMOVED FROM HIS PROPERTY WAS, “OMARI TAHIR THE ONE WHO KNOCKED OUT MAYOR SCHELL” ON THE SAME CORNER. THE POLICE PARKED AROUND THE CORNER ON THE SAME BLOCK REFUSED TO RESPOND UNTIL EISENBERG HAD GIVEN OMARI’S PROTEST SIGNS BACK TO HIM.
    OMARI HAS FILED A COMPLAINT WITH THE WASHINGTON STATE LIQUOR BOARD AND DEMANDED A COPY OF THE SURVEILLANCE VIDEO SHOWING THE ASSAULT. OMARI IS ALSO REQUESTING A COPY OF THE 911 CALL TO SEATTLE POLICE PENDING FILING OF FEDERAL RICO RACKETEERING LAW SUIT AGAINST IAN EISENBERG, UNCLE IKE’S, THE CITY OF SEATTLE AND THE WASHINGTON STATE LIQUOR BOARD. STAY TUNED, IAN AND HIS GOON SHOULD HAVE NEVER EVER ATTACKED OMARI FOR PROTESTING EISENBERG’S ILLEGAL DOPE STORE NEXT TO A CHURCH???
    THIS IS AN EXCELLENT BUSINESS FOR THE HIGHLANDS OFF 145TH AND AURORA, BROADMOOR, MADISON PARK, SEWARD PARK ETC, WHERE PEOPLE CAN AFFORD FOR THEIR MONEY TO “GO UP IN SMOKE”???. AS FAR AS A “WEED AND SEED” CRIME STORE ON 23RD AND UNION??? ONLY A COMMUNITY OUTSIDER, DESTROYER, “WANNA BE GENTRIFIER / EHTNIC CLEANSER LIKE IAN OR A “CIRCUS CLOWN” WOULD ATTEMPT TO ADD TO THE MURDER COUNT ON THIS BLOCK CURRENTLY AT 6 (LARRY WARD 1970, CHICAGO NATIVE 1990s (IN FRONT OF HELEN’S / THOMPSON’S VIEW POINT / NEIGHBOR LADIES, BOTH OWNERS OF FORMER BUSINESS BEFORE MED MIX (ARSON FIRE ENDING) ONE OWNER MURDERED INSIDE BUILDING THE OTHER NEAR BY (1990s), AARON ROBERTS (2001), AND KEVIN BROWN (2014),
    WOW WHAT HISTORY NOT INCLUDING THE “FERGUSON STYLE” RIOTING ON THIS CORNER (1968, 1969) AND FORMER MAYOR PAUL SHELL’S ACCIDENT (2001)??? TWO SAYINGS APPLY, ONE “BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, YOU JUST MIGHT GET IT” AND TWO, “THOSE THAT DO NOT LEARN FROM HISTORY ARE BOUND TO REPEAT IT”. 23RD AND UNION HAS BEEN / IS THE CENTER OF AFRICATOWN / CD SINCE THE 1950s. HOW WOULD I KNOW??? BEEN LIVING WITH IN 15 BLOCKS OF 23RD AND UNION SINCE 1946 INCLUDING DIRECTLY BEHIND POST OFFICE ON 24TH. PLEASE RESEARCH AND THEN FILE LAWSUIT AS TO HOW IAN ENDED UP WITH “WEED AND SEED” STORE WITH OUT WINING “WEED LOTTERY’???? STAY TUNED THE BATTLE IS AT THE STARTING LINE BUT THE END IS VERY EASY TO SEE??? NO ONE BUT A FOOL WOULD BE FORE A “WEED AND SEED” CRIME STORE TO ADD TO THE CONFLICT ON UNION?? TEAR DOWN THE “WEED STORE” NOT LIBERTY BANK??????? “IT TAKES A VILLAGE (AFRICATOWN AND CHINATOWN) TO RAISE A CHILD”. SEE YOU ON THE CORNER OF 23RD AND UNION DAILY. Omari Tahir, FOUNDER / PRESIDENT AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE MUSEUM AND CULTURE CENTER, AFRICATOWN / CHINATOWN SUPPORTER.
    Reply ↓
    Omari Tahir on Monday, September 29, 2014 – 1:31 am said:
    BY THE WAY DON’T FORGET TO CONTACT THE MAYOR, CITY COUNCIL PEOPLE AND YOUR LAWYER ABOUT THIS ASININE IDEA TO PUT A “WEED AND SEED” CRIME STORE ON 23RD AND UNION WHILE POLITICIANS WALK THE STREETS AGAINST CRIME AND WASTE MORE TAX DOLLAR$$$$$ HIRING 100 MORE UPRODUCTIVE TAX DRAINING ANGRY AND VIOLENT GOVERNMENT STREET AGENTS WITH GUNS AND BADGES WITH LITTLE EDUCATION (MEDICAL DOCTOR WITH OPERATING KNIFE AND ONLY HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA)??? WHAT ABOUT HIRING 100 MORE TEACHERS FOR MADRONA, LESHI, STEVENS, WASHINGTON, MEANY, GARFIELD ECT WITH COLLEGE DEGREES (MASTERS AND PHDs FOR CHEAPER PRICE??? Omari Tahir

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