‘Shut it down’ — Rally, prayer against I-502 marijuana shop Uncle Ike’s at 23rd and Union

Pastor Reggie C. Witherspoon, Sr. asked the crowd for help continuing the protest in coming days (Images: CHS)

Pastor Reggie C. Witherspoon, Sr. asked the crowd for help continuing the protest in coming days (Images: CHS)

IMG_570223rd Ave’s Mount Calvary Christian Center and its Pastor Reggie Witherspoon lead a sea of support Sunday afternoon shutting down the street in front of its newly opened neighbor — I-502 marijuana store Uncle Ike’s.

“We gotta have a strategy,” Pastor Witherspoon shouted through a bullhorn to the assembled group of Sunday worshippers and protesters who gathered in the street on 23rd Ave just north of the intersection. “We’re going to be working with the legislature. We’re going to be doing all the legal things we have to do. A rally alone may not be the answer. They got to change this law.”

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Supporters at Sunday’s rally say they do not understand how the state and city allowed a marijuana store to open up next door to their church. Many in the crowd of around 200 or more also said they believed Uncle Ike’s management had not been clear with church representatives when discussing the construction going on at the commercial buildings at 23rd and Union.

The crowd was peaceful and, CHS was told, organizers communicated their plans to police so officers could be on hand to assist with any traffic issues or any disturbances.

Uncle Ike’s officially opened last Tuesday as only the second I-502 marijuana store in Seattle. Owner Ian Eisenberg’s application had not been selected in the state’s retail license lottery earlier this summer. Eisenberg tells CHS that he partnered with a winner and was allowed to transfer the license to his property at 23rd and Union. Almost two years ago, CHS wrote about the likelihood of 23rd and Union becoming a fertile ground for Seattle pot ventures as one of the few areas that would qualify for a license under state rules and city zoning.

But Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell tells CHS he is beginning a review of how the shop was allowed to open at the intersection in such close proximity to the church. Harrell said there is nothing yet on the City Council’s calendar but that he is beginning the process this week. Harrell also said he hasn’t yet talked with Ike’s owner Eisenberg but that he intends to as he looks for “clarifications” about how the new business came to be.

It’s not clear if the 2013 City Council process for setting up Seattle’s marijuana retail zoning restrictions categorized churches such as Mount Calvary Christian Center like parks and schools which were required to have significant buffers to prevent I-502 stores from opening nearby.

Council member Harrell

Council member Harrell

Harrell, by the way, located his mayoral campaign office on the backside of the building also home to the formerly state-run liquor store across the street on the southeast corner of 23rd and Union. The liquor store also operates within close proximity to the church. Meanwhile, on the northwest corner, the gas station sports neon advertisements for big brand beer. Around the corner, The Neighbor Lady bar replaced longtime Central District legend Thompson’s Point of View.

Having mostly overcome its challenges with illegal drugs and street crime, change at 23rd and Union has shown some signs of accelerating after fits and false starts in the past. With one new apartment development underway and more in the works, the area around the shop is on the verge of even larger shifts even as seeming setbacks like the downsizing of the neighborhood’s post office continue to shake out.

Meanwhile, the protests at 23rd and Union won’t be the only mix of I-502 and religion for the area. CHS reported last week that the investor who holds the lottery-assigned license to open near 23rd and Union has purchased an old storefront and building just down the hill from Ike’s. That location is home to Masjid Taqwa and the mosque continues to hold services in the building, according to a phone message.

With chants of “Shut it down!” Witherspoon asked the crowd on Sunday afternoon to help him “link arms” and keep a presence in front of the store “until this is fixed.” Supporters said a rally will continue every day at noon and 5 PM until the shop is closed.

Sunday, the shop remained open. Once the rally subsided, it continued doing a steady business and the parking lot was busy with customers.

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174 thoughts on “‘Shut it down’ — Rally, prayer against I-502 marijuana shop Uncle Ike’s at 23rd and Union

    • The liquor store is not located next door to the church. What is upsetting is that kids coming and going from Sunday service are exposed to this. It’s just a perfect example of the disrespect that our liberal city has towards church’s in general. I wouldn’t be surprised if they put up a porn store on the other side of the church. Ps- Harrell, good job of pretending to be concerned. Too little too late. #Fake

    • I’m more concerned about some of the crazy ideas kids are likely taught inside the church than about them learning that regular people enjoy the effects of the cannabis plant.

      Regardless, kids wouldn’t have batted an eye over the new store if it adults weren’t making a big fuss over it.

    • The church will teach a kid more hate and lies then any other cult in the world. So many people are murdered and killed over religion, way more then any cannabis user or so called weed dealers. Some people are just so desperate for attention it’s disturbing.

    • I doubt very much that it will upset children to see people walking out of a store carrying brown paper bags. If it does, those children are in for a lifetime of scarring consumerist nightmares.

    • So, you’re concerned that kids might see people purchase a legal product, but not so concerned that the war on drugs disproportionately incarcerates African American youth, destroying their ability to achieve their full potential because they have a felony on their record?
      You’re concerned about the wrong thing.

    • I couldn’t help but keep thinking this….so you’re okay with the war on drugs that keep your kids locked up? You think protesting this store is going to keep people from buying?! Yikes! Completely misguided and uneducated. If you aren’t protesting the liquor store as well, you lose all credibility!!!

    • We have to tolerate them; they have to tolerate us. And when kids are allowed to participate in all aspects of our society, they can have a say in how things are run. Until then, the adults are the ones who have final say – and the adults of Washington State have spoken quite clearly on this particular subject.

    • KOMO asked the pastor that question, he said the liquor store has always bothered him but it was there before the church.

    • exactly! Ignorance, is just, well, ignorant. Alcohol is FAR more a drug than pot. Alcohol has historically killed more and caused more harm, upset, death and damage to OTHERS – not just the person consuming the beverage – than pot will EVER do.
      Also, pot is no more a drug than alcohol – really. But, with one better thing… it not only can aid in after work relaxation, just like an alcoholic beverage, but it can also help with nausea, appetite (cancer, HIV, anorexia and other patients have had AMAZING success getting their appetites back), and many MANY more medical benefits. Additionally, marijuana as HEMP makes stronger fabric, twine and paper products than trees — it holds up and lasts FAR longer. HEMP is also a great “milk” alternative, is good for your skin, insides and hair.
      The next time someone smokes pot only, then proceeds to beat the crap out of loved one, then get behind the wheel of car and causing an accident and killing someone, give me a call… i have a feeling i’ll never hear my phone ring – EVER.
      PS. Pot is also helping folks with depression; read the study that Harvard AND the Mayo clinic have been conducting and proven that pot has helped people more successfully deal with, process and minimize their depression and depression triggers and symptoms.
      Please… read some truth and facts about pot… and then do the same about alcohol… if that doesn’t have you OUTRAGED that your precious children (i have one too) can EASILY obtain alcohol at almost ANY store, then, well, you’re lying to yourself.

  1. What is the church worried/concerned about? It would be nice to have a solid, constructive discussion on the concerns the church has.

    Are they going to protest the liquor store across the street every day @12 and 5pm. I don’t smoke weed and don’t plan to, but jeeze, aren’t there other issues our neighborhood faces to protest against?

    • The liquor store is not located next door to the church. What is upsetting is that kids coming and going from Sunday service are exposed to this. It’s just a perfect example of the disrespect that our liberal city has towards church’s in general. I wouldn’t be surprised if they put up a porn store on the other side of the church. Ps- Harrell, good job of pretending to be concerned. Too little too late. #Fake

    • Those same kids you pretend to be concerned about are the kids most likely to have their lives ruined by the war on drugs and the prison industrial complex.
      #fauxconcern #fake

    • Exactly – The responses to this silly action by pastor Reggie are excellent and right on. The drug war is destroying his own kids – the right way to do it is to END THE LIE OF THE WAR ON DRUGS – WHICH IS A WAR ON PEOPLE – MAINLY AFRICAN-AMERICAN YOUNG MEN.

      Reggie – WAKE UP! You are following the voice of Satan – God created cannabis for us. Teach your people to use responsibly!!

    • I was raised in the church and taught to respect the opinion of others,My father being a preacher would of never let the church show the young children actions like this or have them involved, we would of prayed and never led our youngsters in to such a angry hostel situation.you at the church should be ashamed of your self for trying to get this kind of attention.you have to know black market drugs are all around your church these folks are trying to get rid of black market drugs at least the marijuana.your god is not proud of you,you best pray for your actions.

  2. Soooo, not concerned with booze or cigarettes, which actually kill people? Who do they believe created the plant, which is only dried before consumed?

  3. It’s getting to the point that I despise Christians and their selective faux outrage! Here’s an idea, if you don’t like gay marriage.don’t have one! If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one! If you don’t like pot don’t use it and STFU

    • Seems to me this church is getting all cozy with political types, which means they best give up their tax-exempt status.

      You got to pay to play, no exemptions.

      I’d join the movement to get the church out of the neighborhood. They’re less of a benefit to the community than a pot shop.

  4. Churches aren’t parks or schools. Wherever this ended up someone would feel like it’s too close to something. You can’t please everyone.

  5. its sad that people don’t do research before moving into the neighborhood. If you understood the historical significance within this block of the CD, you wouldn’t be asking why is the church so mad. There has been several drug related murders on this block and countless efforts by change makers such as Flo Ware fighting to keep the neighborhood stable. Its shitty that black people have been arrested and killed on this corner for selling weed and then a rich white dude comes in and it’s all good. I encourage people in the CD to google Ian Eisenberg study his business practices and then decide if he’s a business owner you want operating in your neighborhood.

    • For real! Thank you Mayor Murray and Bruce Harrell for your disregard and disrespect by letting this happen. I hope we get some REAL grass roots brothers or sisters running for office next year that know the needs of the neighborhood.

    • Those were prohibition-related murders. People weren’t killing each other over now-banned substances until our laws banning those substances drove the values through the roof and pushed related business outside the legal framework other businesses enjoy.

    • So wait, are you saying that if the owner of Uncle Ike’s was black then the church would NOT be freaking out that the store was there??

    • I can see how it appears that way, but you missed a few points inbetween

      1) “…black people have been arrested and killed on this corner for selling weed”

      2) Years of protest, lobbying, being arrested, fund raising, hard work get initiative I-502 on the ballet

      3) A rich white guy buys the building from a rich black guy who bought it from the guy who bought it from (etc) the white guy who built it in 1928.

      4) A majority of state voters approve I-502 and pot is now legal.

      5) After a lot of work”…and then a rich white dude comes in and it’s all good.

      And BTW, those who fought for legalization fought so no one would get arrested.

  6. It is strange that the church was not aware, or made aware, of what kind of business was opening right next to it. That issue aside, they must be misinformed or uneducated about drugs, seeing that they have no issue with liquor or tobacco shops. I can only wonder why they would choose to protest this over much more harmful substances. I hope the store and its employees are doing well over this targeted harassment by this local cult.

    • Seriously, this hasn’t exactly been a secret; people in the neighborhood (at least the ones paying attention) have known what was going into that building since before they even started construction. Sorry church folks, you had your chance to protest the store months ago and you blew it. Now, be good neighbors & play nice or else someone else might get the idea that protesting YOU is a good idea.

  7. Those of us who are reading this and scratching our heads are making the one mistake we can make. Trying to apply logic to an emotional argument. The motivating pastor here, Mr. Witherspoon is attempting to address a law based and procedural issue here with the same modality as he uses to fill his pews. I’m interested to hear coherent complaints on this topic, though my suspicion is that as soon as one tries to logically speak about the subject it will be met with an emotional wall. I don’t think the church’s outrage has anything to do with the stated reasons, rather a long history of association and projection of crime and violence onto marijuana. 10 seconds of clear thought on the subject would reveal that taking the drugs out of the hands of the thugs can only decrease violence. A level of communication can now be opened up with our children about a subject that has been walled off for many families. But that is the mistake, that is logic.

    Yeah.. Ike. Nice way to open a business. Did you get that sign printed at fedex on the B/W printer for a dollar or did you do that on your inkjet? You’re not doing much to help your case I must say.

    • In that case I think he should have just left it as a door sign. As it is now it looks like a corner drug dealer just went legit.

    • Nice to read an objective, insightful view/opinion about what this whole matter is about, hinges on and the real reason that its going to take rational and objective debate to resolve this matter. From the legal standpoint..the laws as they are written right now are undeniably on the side of Uncle Ike’s. It’s a very tricky thing for those trying to hold others in contempt on the grounds of morality, respect and and their religion. We all live in ‘glass houses’…no one should carry around rocks ready to fling them at whatever at that time they are against. When you get the Church ‘threatening’ and demanding and ‘taking matters into their own hands’, those kinds of actions as such can lead into muddy waters (i.e., Salem Witch Trials). Some comments here are against people standing behind the robe of the Lord and wagging their fingers at others they don’t like or agree with and passing judgement and retort, all in the name of seeming right and shouting down truths and facts as wrong and wicked. Come now…let it be said again, State & Law vs. Church & Religion. Whichever someone choose to err on..you gotta stand up for what you believe in, right or wrong, law or lies. I’m just saying….

  8. One more reason I cant stand Christians. Here’s the deal stay out of the pot shop and I’ll stay out of your church

    • And I guess we just leave the children walking to Sunday school to figure it out on there own right? It’s selfish self-righteous attitudes like yours that have this country going down the toilet. It’s not about I won’t go to church if you don’t go to the pot store.. it’s about how it affects the kids.

    • @ivan, unlike drug dealers this store isn’t targeting or making it mandatory for kids to use drugs. It’s such a terrible argument in this case. That corner has had some historically major problems with crimes like murder, assault, etc etc.

      Your argument for the church really has no place here. If it was replacing a nice restaurant or a day-care I would maybe see your point but unfortunately, what was there before was NOT better than what is there now. And for that reason, this church is going to lose this battle. sorry :/

    • Really, I can’t stand the self-righteous hypocrisy of the churches. Ivan Bulldog going off about a marijuana shop and not even responding to points about the local cheap beer and liquor products that are sold right next door, have been for decades, cause domestic violence, cancer and general degradation of people’s health and well-being? I used to live in this neighborhood, it’s my favorite in Seattle, and I would see all sorts of crazy stuff at night from alcohol! Why is this so accepted but pot is a threat? Really? More like a solution to me. This kinda slides into that article I read recently in the Seattle Times about how people in the NW don’t go to church much and reject religion. Educated people seem to know better than to join. Religion seems to make people more angry, less tolerant and less logical or reasonable. . . all in the name of God. Sad. Twisted. The Creator I know is nothing but pure love and acceptance.

    • Ivan, about having the children “figure it out on their own right?” No. That’s what parents are for. Parents having a conversation with their children about marijuana would be a good thing. It’s people like you who are too scared to have a calm, reasoned discussion with their kids about the real world That works to creat major problems here. Your “argument” is essentially “what are we supposed to tell our children??” In the words of Louis CK “I don’t know. It’s your shitty kid. You freaking tell them. Why is that anyone else’s problem?”

  9. Will the new store only accept cash? If so, there is going to be the potential for a new wave of crime in the area. Comparing it to the liquor store is not a fair comparison. Good for the them to protest. It’s a shame the CD has to be shit on. These stores should be allowed within a 1000 feet and not as the crow flies and this wouldn’t be as much as a concern.

    • “These stores should be allowed within a 1000 feet and not as the crow flies and this wouldn’t be as much as a concern.”

      You are dreaming. It could be five miles away and they’d still have their panties in a twist.

  10. While I do not want a pot shop to be one of the cornerstones of this neighborhood, I wonder why there have not been more of this churches’ protests against the open and blatant drug dealing that takes place 24 hours a day at this corner. Maybe I’ve missed them over the past 20 years?

    • The Reverend Samuel B. McKinney, pastor emeritus of Mount Zion Baptist Church at 20th & Madison, also spoke at today’s event. That church is a block from the former location of Deano’s/Club Chocolate City on Madison. Up to 25 street dealers used to hang out outside that bar and associated mini-mart. While the church may well have been working behind the scenes to help the dealers return to the straight and narrow (as Lt. John Hayes’ “Get Off The Streets” program did in a more public manner), I recall no large demonstrations like that today to dissuade customers from frequenting the dealers.

    • Yes, Andrew.

      Where was the outrage 15 years ago when there was a dozen or so dealers camped out on that block shooting up the place? Sadly, I think it was only you. This new protest, however, is on the wrong side of history.

  11. I can totally understand some of the objections from the church and the surrounding community – but what I can’t understand is why they waited until now to hold a rally. For at least the last year or so, quite a few local news outlets have been running stories about how this corner has been slated for a legal pot dispensary. Why on earth would this idiot pastor wait until it is too late to do anything about it?

    • I guess he was “too busy” to stay informed? Maybe he was reading those publications Sarah Palin reads– you know, “all of them”.

    • It’s not as attention-getting to grandstand in front of something that doesn’t yet exist. My guess is the good Pastor is savvy enough to know that protesting in front of an already-opened business will get more coverage than protesting in front of a vacant building. In which case, his strategy was totally effective, at least in that regard.

  12. Why not protest something that leads to a higher fatality rate, like a liquor store. Please send these sheep home, they’re pathetic. No rationalizing with someone who disagrees with marijuana more than alcohol. They’re too feeble minded to have a formal debate with.

  13. Pingback: ‘Shut it down’ — Rally, prayer against I-502 marijuana shop Uncle Ike’s at … | Weed Minds

  14. If you do your research then you would’ve known the liquor store was already at its location BEFORE the church came. You idiots that are commenting as to why this and why that and not in agreeance with what the church is protesting, if you know your history regarding the Central District, you would know that several murders took place due to drugs and marijuana. The CD at one point was 80% black, now it’s 80% white. So you idiots who know nothing about the history of the city, need to shut the hell up and understand the culture that once was, for all theses years. do your homework, understand that churches are to help those who are a broken mess, appreciate what the church does before you try to criticize it, because the moment you scum bags are faced with a life threatening moment, you go running to the church and asking God to fix it. But have the audacity to get upset at the church for making a bold statement. What uneducated pricks half of you are. Weed leads to cocaine, meth and more. With all those youth intities just a few feet from the church, that should be enough reason for you to understand the argument of pastor Witherspoon. Think logically and down the road before half of you dummy’s open your mouth.

    • Totally blew whatever credibility you might have had with that “Weed leads to cocaine, meth and more” remark.
      By the same logic, one could also assert that churches lead to genocide.

    • Miles, you exhibit your ignorance by saying that weed is not a gateway drug. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that it is. You sir, are an idiot.

      Ron, you are on point. These people don’t know the history and don’t want to know. They are full of themselves and only thinking about what they can get out of life, with no care about how they get it or who they hurt.

    • Ivan,

      In this comment, you slander Miles by calling him an idiot. Below, you slander Jim98122x calling him a hipster and telling him you don’t want him here. Above you told Scott Baltzell that he’s self-righteous.

      BUT, below you told Clive that he should be “ashamed” of himself for slandering people he doesn’t agree with.

      This is not very christian behavior you’re exhibiting here. Or, maybe that’s exactly what it is and that’s the problem with christianity.

    • Actually, the evidence is overwhelming that marijuana is NOT a gateway drug. Let’s take a look at that evidence, instead of relying on our personal opinions, which are of course skewed…

      According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2013, 45.5% of Seniors in high school (they surveyed Seniors all across the country) had tried marijuana at some point in their lives. 4.5% had tried cocaine, 1.8% had tried crack cocaine, 1.5% had tried methamphetamine, and 1% had tried herion. If marijuana was a gateway drug, those numbers would be astronomically higher. Now, one could look at those numbers and say, “well, those are the result of them not wanting to admit to use of “heavy” drugs.” That still does not account for the overwhelmingly higher percentage of those who admit to marijuana use. So no, according to the numbers, the claim that marijuana is a “gateway drug” is simply not supported.

    • “Weed leads to cocaine, meth and more. ”

      What, did I not get the program? Why didn’t anyone tell me?
      — Smoked weed from my late teens into my 20’s
      — stopped smoking weed for 25+ years (real addicting, huh?)
      — now smoke it again in my 50’s
      — never arrested, never so much as missed a mortgage payment, never got anything worse than a speeding ticket
      — never been a cocaine, meth, or “more” user

      What were you saying again? Oh never mind, I don’t really care.

    • PS, any problems I run into, I assure you I will not “go running to the church and asking God to fix it”. You can count on that.

    • On the flip side, how many heroin addicts started with heroin? How many meth addicts, first drug was meth? You are being dishonest if you say that marijuana is not a gateway drug. You may have had the common sense not to try anything harder, but that is not the case for everyone. Undoubtedly you are one of the new neighborhood hipsters who doesn’t know the history of the area and just want to feel involved from the safety of your bedroom. You’re not from here, we don’t want you here.

    • 1. Yeah, I’m 56 yrs old, if I don’t fit the prototype of “hipster” who does? Yeah, I’m “hip” all right. LOL.
      2. I’ve lived in the same house in this very neighborhood for 20 years. Do I meet your residency requirements, or am I still a carpetbagger?
      3. “Not from here, we don’t want you here”? Gee, couldn’t you have told me when I was born in Swedish Hospital in 1958? And you are….? Oh that’s right, I forgot–I don’t really care.

    • Ivan:

      How many started with coffee,tea with grandma, mountain dew,with dad monster energy drinks,with their friends ? What led them to try those things ? The rush from Sugar on their cereal ?
      That is why the gateway hypothesis fails.

      I am willing to bet you drink coffee,tea, or caffeinated soda everyday. These are highly addictive. Have you moved on to cocaine ?
      Why ?

      Here is some science for you, Caffeine users.

      Dependency rates of common substances:

      Tobacco 32%
      Caffeine 30% [Catherine et al. 2011]
      Heroin 23%
      Cocaine 17%
      Alcohol 15%
      Antianxiety Meds 9%
      Cannabis 9%

      Anthony et al. Comparative epidemiology of dependence on tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances, and inhalants: Basic findings from the National Comorbidity Survey. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. 1994.

      “Compared to most other drugs … dependence among marijuana users is relatively rare.”
      “A distinctive marijuana and THC withdrawal syndrome has been identified, but it is mild and subtle compared with the profound physical syndrome of alcohol or heroin withdrawal.”
      Joy et al. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Institute of Medicine. 1999.

      After a decade of use, the rate of cannabis dependence is only 5.9%. It is 8.9% for lifetime use:

    • Soon you’ll need to post supporting documentation for claims of being from here. At least one parent’s birth announcement from The Daily Seattle Times. We’ll let it pass this time Mr. hospital name dropper.

    • If anything they should be protesting the liquor store. I don’t even smoke weed, but now because of this I’m going to make it a point to go to Ike’s and make a purchase. Also that area is definitely not 80% white lol. The 98122 zip code (which I happen to live in) is 68% white and that’s including the much whiter pike pine area at the bottom of the hill.

    • Ron, what about the people that lived in the neighborhood before WWII? It wasn’t a black neighborhood then. It was home to Seattle’s Jewish, Italian, and Japanese families first. Before that, it belonged to the local tribes I’d imagine.

      Because the neighborhood’s been 80% black in your lifetime doesn’t mean it always has, or always will be. That’s the nature of the world.

    • Yea and before that predominant black population it used to be predominantly japanese. Should we round up the asian and jewish population so we can band together and bitch about how black people took over the hood? Get real.

      I dunno if you and ivan are from the church or not but if so, yall are making it look extremely bad right now. Learn to speak with logic, common sense and curb the insults if you want to have any effect other than vitrol at your establishment and beliefs thrown your way.

    • Dude, you really need to stop just repeating what is told to you by the people who are programming you in the media. Use your brain. If you read it somewhere else, then come up with an independent thought on the matter. You sir are proliferating propaganda, and I can PROMISE you a church is more harmful to the community longterm than a weed shop is going to be. One promotes enlightenment, forward thinking, and progress. The Church involves encouraged ignorance, discrimination, justified violence, and lunacy. You guys are the ones who are going to be driven out by the community soon enough, and I for one can’t wait to see you go and take your cespool of humanity you promote with you.

    • Not to mention that the tax money raised though the I502 taxes will do more good to the community than your church could ever hope to, so good job on trying to make the world we live in a harder place.

      #TraitorsToYourOwnCause

    • Everyone goes running to something when the shit hit’s the fan
      Some folks have just been conditioned to run to the supposed “man jesus”, it really means nothing .
      I would eat dog poop dipped in buggers if I thought it would save my family from disaster.

      Based on the snarkieness and self righteous of your post I kind of hope that “80%”black folks all move to your neighborhood. Somehow I doubt they could afford it though, just a hunch. I hate people like you

  15. LOL! Harrell makes me laugh pretending to give a shit. I really detest politicians. A little late to suddenly be interested in hearing from Ian Eisenberg about how he got his license. Whatever. As if a pot shop is any worse than a liquor store.

  16. We should start picketing in front of their church to keep people from being brainwashed and having their money scammed out of them!

  17. The only problem I have is, why didn’t the church open a weed shop instead of pimping the poor black vulnerable people in your church

    • Do you have some examples of his “pimping” or do you just feel its okay to slander others that you don’t agree with? You should be ashamed.

    • Yes, Andrew.

      Where was the outrage 15 years ago when there was a dozen or so dealers camped out on that block shooting up the place? Sadly, I think it was only you. This new protest, however, is on the wrong side of history.

  18. I am very curious what the exact objections are. Its interesting to me that CHS was astute enough to predict this two years ago, and usually has decent writing, but failed to mention the specific talking points or objections. I could of course guess and probably there’s a 90% chance I would be right, but why didn’t anybody ask him for an interview?

  19. if they really did care to make a difference for their children, they’d focus on climate and energy policy.

    but no, they’re protesting a store that responsible adults may buy from while their children get weed from a million other sources.

    they really haven’t thought too deeply about this. it’s easy to rile people up and their pastor knows this already. it’s easy for him to take a moral high ground here – he has nothing to lose. it’s just pandering to his base. no news here.

    carry on, marijuana retail.

  20. The tax-free (welfare) church is trying to stop a tax-paying business?

    Say it ain’t so!

    Churches don’t deserve special rights, but they should pay taxes.

    As far as gateway drugs go, I suspect every meth/coke head started out in life drinking milk. Perhaps milk is the gateway substance.

    HEY CHURCH! LEAVE THE TAXPAYERS ALONE!

  21. I’m sad to see the rude, name calling comments. I think this story could actually produce a good conversation.

    I grew up in North Seattle but went to Garfield for high school. I drove down 23rd every day for 4 years. The area is definitely changing. I remember once seeing a homicide just across 23rd from this shop. I remember the day a peaceful black man was shot by police at this corner.

    There is definitely a historical context to this neighborhood and conversation that many who have just moved to Seattle would not understand. I don’t understand all of it.

    This neighborhood is a traditionally black neighborhood. It has gentrified over the past 10-15 years. While I don’t agree with the “think of the kids” argument (kids are smarter than people are giving them credit for… and parents should use any questions they have for good discussion around healthy decision making, etc), I do understand how the opening of this shop could cause some in the community outrage.

    In a historically black neighborhood that has a reasonable distrust of the police and government, all of a sudden someone from outside (maybe the owner is from the CD, I could be wrong) comes in and tries to do what some of their neighbors have been doing just to survive but were arrested, beaten, or killed for. Not defending drug dealers, but I can see the historical reason for the community to be upset.

    Again, not saying I agree with the protestors, but I think if we take a step back, avoid name calling, this could be a great situation that could lead all of us to greater understanding of our city.

    • Alan, I agree with your point completely. But all of that has nothing to do with a church. That is a larger issue that really doesn’t have anything to do with Ikes either.

      Awesome post though

    • Alan wrote, “In a historically black neighborhood that has a reasonable distrust of the police and government, all of a sudden someone […] comes in and tries to do what some of their neighbors have been doing just to survive but were arrested, beaten, or killed for.”

      That’s the most thought-provoking comment I’ve seen in this discussion. I wonder if the church group would be protesting if Ike’s was owned by a black person who was not considered a neighborhood outsider.

      I have worked toward pot legalization largely because I want to see an end to the so-called war on drugs, and I want that to end largely because of the injustice surrounding our imprisonment of people for prohibition violations. If this church group left the pot shop alone and went to instead protest the continued lock-up of people for violation of drug prohibition laws, I’d join them.

      “Not defending drug dealers, but I can see the historical reason for the community to be upset.”

      I’ll defend them–a bit. I won’t defend the actions you and I likely both abhor, but I will defend honest business conducted between consenting adults. Nobody should be in prison for that.

    • So happy to see a few thoughtful comments like this amongst the insular, hostile, weedhead-libertarian reactions. This shop has dropped down in the middle of a family neighborhood, so it’s understandable that the community might be concerned. The fact that 23rd & Union HAS been plagued with drug dealers doesn’t mean that people with kids have NO right to be concerned about a shiny, legitimate weedmart popping up and encouraging (by its presence) dropping out.

    • DB, the corner wouldn’t have been “plagued with drug dealers,” were it not for laws previously prohibiting stores like Uncle Ike’s. We would still see the same thing with alcohol had we not wised up and ended its prohibition.

      I’m with you on the call for an end to hostility, though. That mob of angry people in the parking lot sounds like trouble.

    • I’m not arguing in favor of prohibition. I’m just not sure 23rd & Union is the best place for Uncle Bob’s Weed-atorium.

      There are flaws to both arguments–if this group didn’t protest this before it was up and running, they’re remiss. At the same time, the weed nerds posting comments here could stand to step out of their little world and see that other people have a right not to be thrilled to have their neighborhood zoned as “Little Amsterdam” (and yes, I KNOW there was already a massive drug problem on that corner).

    • Whether or not that is the best place is irrelevant. Regulations have severely limited the places pot shop owners can operate. This guy found a place that wasn’t in south seattle, and he took it. End of story.

      Personally, I’d rather have a pot shop on the corner than a church. Only one of them pays taxes, and it’s not the one that follows the ‘gays are second class citizens and atheists are terrible people’ book.

    • Alan, you raise several good points. Personally, I would be more than happy if the legislature were to grant a blanket amnesty for any individual currently incarcerated in Washington State for possession and/or sale of cannabis – not that I think it’s likely to happen, though. But it does seem rather hypocritical to perpetuate this classist/racist paradigm just because something that was illegal a couple of years ago is legal today.

  22. It sounds to me that Uncle Ike has a legal right to be at that location. This isn’t a matter of liking ir disliking it – they aren’t breaking any laws. Unless the law is changed, there is nothing being done here but harassment of a law abiding business owner over a difference in beliefs. This may change of course if the protestors are tresspassing, impeding traffic without a permit, or damaging the businesses kability to operate. Than we can talk about laws being broken….

  23. I do not understand the outrage. There’s an open air drug-market on the SE corner of Union and 23rd. Why complain about a legal business when there’s all sorts of illegal enterprise going on at the same intersection. Or is this really just a turf-war in sheep’s clothing?

  24. Let me first say that I’m against the use of cannabis for recreational reasons because I’m Christian and I take my health very seriously.

    Romans 13:13
    Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
    I Corinthians 6:19
    Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.

    The two bible versus above basically says that we should not be intoxicated and we should respect our bodies because they are a temple of the holy spirit, and it is for those reasons that I’m against smoking cannabis for recreational reasons.

    But I still use cannabis in my daily life; my protein powder and the shirt I wear to church is made of cannabis (hemp) and I juice fresh, raw cannabis leaves along with other vegetables like spinach and kale to make me a healthy veggie smoothy that doesn’t get me high.

    But I have to be secretive about it, if the wrong person finds out I’ll get fired and arrested for having a healthy diet. That’s one of the reasons I want cannabis legally regulated everywhere.

    The other reason is so that it can be brought under control. What these people don’t understand is that there will always be a demand for cannabis. There will always be cannabis users and a cannabis market, legal or not. No law will ever change that.

    The only way to control cannabis use is through legal regulation, that way the government can decide how, where and to whom cannabis gets sold instead of the black market.

    Cannabis is illegal where I reside but I still smell it everywhere I go, I see young people skating and smoking joints on the streets, I see high school and collage students smoking weed, my friends, neighbors and even members of my church’s youth smokes weed.

    It infuriates me to see so many youth have such easy access to cannabis and it has to stop. Cannabis must be brought under control but too many people oppose control apparently.

    • The People have spoken on the subject via a legal vote. Get over it. It’s called PROGRESS. Christian teetotalers are in the minority and I am thankful for that. If you make this into an “us” vs. “them” thing, guess who will win. Just stop now. Unless you want the same people who voted for this to vote away your tax exempt status as well. And, believe me when I say that the day may be closer than you think.

  25. It’s sad to see a group who’s savior used cannabis to perform his miracles shun the very plant that created their religion. Alcohol and tobacco are immensely more harmful to society yet they choose to fight the one that actually has health benefits. Smh.

  26. Pingback: What Would Jesus Do? Probably Not Protest Marijuana Dispensaries

  27. It is very sad that this neighborhood has to bear the brunt of 1-502. Neighbors in Capitol Hill, First Hill, Madrona, Madison Park/Valley, or Mt Baker don’t have to deal with pot shops near their homes. This section of the CD is in line for two. Ian Eisenberg himself publicly stated in the now defunct Central District News that he hopes the area around 23rd and Union will become “Little Amsterdam.” Anyone who has been to Amsterdam knows that the Red Light district is a really seedy tourist trap. Rather than pot shops, many neighbors here want the basic amenities that people in the above mentioned neighborhoods already enjoy.

    • Lots of folks on Capitol Hill, First Hill, Madrona, etc would love to have a shiny new pot store closer to their homes. Unfortunately, the ridiculously onerous “1000 foot rule” makes it impossible to locate a shop in those areas.
      I find the alleged concern for “the children” expressed here to be specious. Personally, I am far more concerned with America’s predilection for incarcerating disproportionate amounts of African American youth for minor drug offenses than I am with the pearl clutching sensibilities of Pastor Witherspoon and his easily distracted congregation of conservatives.

  28. If the church really wants to complain and get involved with politicss they should pay taxes like the rest of us. Also, I think they were more pissed about the owner not letting them use his parking lot on Sundays anymore.

  29. Seems as if they were protesting cars on 23rd. Because the only thing they stopped was traffic. Saw plenty of people go into the pot shop as I was stuck in this mess. Way to go Jesus.

  30. Pingback: Backlash: Church members, Seattle councilman protest Seattle marijuana retailer | Gazelle

  31. “We gotta have a strategy,” Pastor Witherspoon shouted through a bullhorn to the assembled group of Sunday worshippers.

    Yeah, a little late on that, don’t you think Rev? Where have you been until now? Did he actually try to have conversations about this, before now? If not– this is a “leader”?

  32. Pingback: Protest at Second Seattle Retail Cannabis Store : Marijuana Business Daily: Financial, Legal & Cannabusiness news for cannabis entrepreneurs

  33. There is a very distinct reason that we have “Separation of Church & State”.
    The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Washington State Government does not involve itself in any way with the (Church) and its’ business. The State is in this [business] of Legal Marijuana Sales; the taxation of it at-least, and intends on putting those collecte tax dollars to worthwhile use that should benefit projects, associations, programs,infrastructure and the likes..things and causes that we all use in one way or another. Refer to the I-502 Initiative for details.

    The Church will not achieve the desired results it seeks from the State on the matter of removing (Uncle Ike’s), not only in principle, but also in law. Not gonna happen.
    They say the devil comes humble in his approach…you can’t un-ring that bell, and to protest now just means that the devil is busy.

  34. Pingback: Protest at Second Seattle Retail Cannabis Store : Marijuana Business Daily: Financial, Legal & Cannabusiness news for cannabis entrepreneurs

  35. Pingback: Budding Issues | Protest at Second Seattle Retail Cannabis Store

  36. Pingback: Playing Devil's Advocate: Does the Church Have an Argument Against Pot Shops? | High Above Seattle

  37. I have lived in the Central Area around the corner from the Mount Cavalry Christian Center since 1989. When we first moved into our neighborhood; the corner of 23rd and Union was a drug haven for dealers. Many of our neighbors were older residents that had been shut in by all the drug traffic. My family decided we had to do something in order for our son to be able to play outside without having to fear for his safety by drug dealers and drive by shootings which were happening every day. We set out forming a block watch group with the neighbors who were living here already and the new neighbors that were moving into the neighborhood. With the help of the City of Seattle and Seattle police we were able to get street lights, traffic circles, and assistance in our clean up ventures. We did neighborhood walks around the neighborhood in which we were able to let the drug dealers know that it was our neighborhood not theirs. Our monthly clean-up crews cleaned up Union, 23rd (in front of Mount Cavalry Christian Center), 21st, 24th, and up and down Pine and Pike streets. We passed out flyers to the neighborhood business’ and churches (we went in and talked to the pastor of MCC) to assist with our clean up and block watch walks. During all this we did get help from business’s but never heard or received assistance from Mount Cavalry. The only thing that Mount Cavalry has helped our neighborhood with is illegal parking and traffic problems. Problems that we have lived with and have accepted as part of our neighborhood. Most of our neighbors may not all support marijuana or other drugs use, but after living thru hell trying to clean up the neighborhood from illegal drug dealings we are comfortable with Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop setting up in our neighborhood. Like every business they have to follow the laws set up by the state. And since they opened the area around their building has been clean of garbage and illegal drug dealing. So I say welcome to our neighborhood.

  38. Seems like a great opportunity to witness to sinners. The church sould not be a museum for saints but a hospital for sinners.
    Its time for you saints to get off your high horses and reconize the oppertunity God has given you.
    Jesus’s first maricle was turning water into wine.
    Marijuana is much safer.
    I have to wonder if it was my wedding if he would have turned the water into marijuana.

  39. I am worried that when my kids grow up and buy pot from this pot shop that they will have to see a church across the street and be influenced by the hundreds of thousands of lives taken, history re-written and the support of slavery by religion. Abraham Lincoln smoked pot by the way.

  40. It amazes me the kind of backlash Christians, I being a very proud follower, receive when we stand up for what is right. Just to give you some background I am highly educated, I hold two degrees, and my education only brought me closer to the Lord as I am well aware of my limitations and his infinite being. Have you ever had a conversation with us ’emotional Christians’ to be able to say what that arguement would be. I am more then capable of giving you plausible points of arguement that does not require any emotional sentiment on my part I assure you. I can also bet none of you have been on the inside of a church or been a part of the work churches do. It is a proven fact that the church by far has been the catalyst of personal change and growth for troubled people. There are people who attend this church who have been set free from heavy drug abuse thanks to the power of Jesus Christ, so as they come to worship and hold fast to their sobriety they must walk past a ‘dope house’ to the place where they feel the most safe? Our children must walk past the ‘dope house’ on the way to worshiping the Most High God; but if they enter an arcade they don’t have to worry about that nuisance. I haven’t seen anyone on this post upset about that part of the law. Why aren’t you pissed off about that? And for those who continue to ask the question, the liquor store was there BEFORE WE WERE as well as the mini mart on the corner and furthermore you can not see the liquor store from the premises or touch it if you lean out of a window. While the gentlemen who posted that he moved to the neighborhood in 89 helped to run the dealers away; what you don’t know is Pastor Witherspoon was on the streets helping those said drug dealers change their lives and become productive members of society. But for the sake of your grandstanding I am sure you just so happened to not be home when we knocked on neighborhood doors, walked the streets speaking to and helping to heal those who were on the street and feeding those who were starving or helping find legitimate jobs for those who simply have been marginalized as black people in America. And to be outraged and call names of people who love God and people and want the moral fabric of this land to return because the simple truth is when Americans respected the church, I did not say believe in it but respected it, our society was a more harmonious place. So you can call us hatemongers, or hypocrites or whatever you like, Jesus was persecuted and killed so trust me we are not suprised. But the reality is there is right and there is wrong and the Word of God has the final say and it will. We don’t hate anyone, we want all to see God’s face. But the reality is not all behavior is acceptable behavior and the fact that we don’t support certain ‘behavior’ does not mean we hate or shun people we seek to only see people delivered from those behaviors that go against the Word of God. And if you don’t want to, you don’t have to; that is how wonderful God is because he gave you the will to choose. Please inform yourselves before you make sweeping indictments of the church and those of use who believe, because although these awful things are said about me and those who believe as I do, I still love you with the love of the Lord and pray that you come to know the Most High God because let me tell you he is AMAZING!!!!!!

    • You’re not doing any favors for your religion by trying to shut down a legal business just because you’re too lazy to have a conversation with your child about weed.

      We, the voters, made it absolutely clear that we want marijuana treated like alcohol. You are trying to shut down every single one of those voters because you can’t talk to your kid about weed.

      How about you take care of your own life, instead of trying to override the will of the voters? Seeing a weed shop isn’t going to make your kid into a druggie, and the idea that it’s somehow “more damaging” than the liquor store because it’s closer is laughable.

      When you go to search, do you plan your route out so you don’t pass by a single liquor store, just so you don’t have to explain what alcohol is to your kid? Has your kid ever seen a liquor store? Is your kid an alcoholic now, after seeing that liquor store?

      If you think viewing a pot store is going to destroy a child, you’re ignorant. Period.

    • I see you chose to pick one insular item of all I said and that is OK. Per state regulations the liquor store can’t be within 1000 feet from a church, the same guidelines should be attributed to the pot store..
      As for my children, they know more about drugs then you probably do because we believe in educating not insulating. I am in no way worried about their outcome; however there are those who aren’t so fortunate but the privilege you have been afforded does not allow you to see that. You see the world from the lenses you have been born with and can’t see it from any other vantage point. That my friend is ignorant. Period.

    • You’re not only ignorant, you’re misinformed – a very dangerous combination – which just goes to show that education is no guarantee of intelligence.

      There is in fact NO provision in WSLCB regulations specifying that a liquor store cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a church; the only provision that applies specifies that “If there are any (public or private schools or churches) within 500 feet of your business, they will be notified and have the chance to support or object to your application.” If these affected institutions ARE located within 500 feet of the location, but don’t file an objection – or in the case of a school a veto of the application – then the store is granted a license to operate, regardless of the relative distance.

      I suggest that, in the future you do a little research and educate yourself on an issue before you make demonstrably false statements:

      http://www.liq.wa.gov/licensing/apply-liquor-license

    • The proximity of Ike’s to your church has no relevance. The proximity in no way prevents or hinders you from worshiping your god in any manner. Ike’s is no different from the liquor store, the bar, the post office or the gas station near your church. It is a legal entity, selling a legal product pursuant to the law which was passed overwhelmingly by the public.
      Marijuana is not what has decimated the African American community. Racist policing and sentencing over minor drug offenses is the cause of that. Legal marijuana helps the African American community by reducing the number of black youth thrown into the jaws of the prison industrial complex.
      I truly find it odd that you and other members of your church pretend to be concerned about “the children”, but are seemingly unable to see the disastrous effects that prohibition has had on your community.
      Would you rather talk to your sons and daughters about pot on the sidewalk in front of your church, or through a plexiglass shield in prison?

    • You need to read your history books and speak to those of us who actually experience racism at its finest. Those are not the single reasons the African American community has been decimated it is institutional racism and its pervasiveness even in 2014 that continues to affect my community. I am absolutely sure that this issue will not come up next to a synagogue or a predominantly white church and if it did I am certain the hue and cry would be shouted across the city/state/country, but when it happens to us and we are offended we have to be ignorant and questioned about the legitimacy of our outrage.

      You have no idea what our concerns are because they aren’t yours and never will be, but in the history of this county the majority always thinks they know what is best for everyone else. You have no idea what it means to be a person of African decent in this country so you would do well not to comment on things you have no knowledge. Cocaine was the major reason black youth were disproportionately thrown into prison if you want to talk about sentencing and drugs. Crack versus powder cocaine and its sentencing guidelines, marijuana is a minor issue in the huge apparatus of the justice system and drug sentencing. Along with the fact that black people are stopped at higher rates than whites and therefore caught more often then whites.
      How and when I speak to my children about what I want them to know is for me to decide not you or anyone else. The state can have their marijuana stores, you are all correct the measure passed, but it will not stay next door to the house of worship. 1000 feet just like the liquor store 3000 feet away.

    • @Nicole B
      “The state can have their marijuana stores, you are all correct the measure passed, but it will not stay next door to the house of worship. 1000 feet just like the liquor store 3000 feet away.”

      3K ft is never going to happen.

    • I guess we can also rule out that either of her degrees are in Math, since, by her extremely flawed reckoning, the liquor store is more than a half-mile from the church. According to Google Maps, it’s a mere 351 feet away, and that’s not even a straight-line distance, but rather going from door-to-door via the intersection at 23rd & E. Union.

    • I am in broad agreement with much of your response. I am quite aware that institutional racism is alive and well, and still quite deadly, as the police lynchings in Ferguson and an Ohio Walmart have recently shown. I am perfectly aware that it was the racist distinction between crack and powder cocaine that filled our prisons with black youth while letting the coke head scions of privilege and power go free. I laid the blame on “Racist policing and sentencing over minor drug offenses”, not on marijuana enforcement in particular.
      Marijuana enforcement, however, has long been a tool for stopping and harassing black youth, and I would think you would at least acknowledge that removing that particular tool of oppression is a small but positive step in the battle against institutional racism.
      I am opposed to the 1000 foot rule, period. It is, in my opinion, a ridiculous rule. I see no reason why a legal business is restricted from selling a legal product just because they are within a thousand feet of a school, library, synagogue, church or whatever. In fact, it is that rule that is responsible for the location of Ike’s; it is the only spot in the CD and Capitol Hill that such a business can be located. If there were no 1000 foot rule, Ike’s would probably have opened on Broadway or twelfth or somewhere else.
      Again, the present location in no way impacts, hinders or precludes you from your worship, nor would I support it if it did. The present location in no way impacts, hinders or precludes you from imparting your values to your children. Those are both unsustainable, straw arguments.
      Some folks want a beer when they get home. Some want a glass of wine. Some want a splash of scotch. Some want to smoke a little reefer. There is no important, substantial difference between these things.
      Finally, I am truly sorry if you felt I was being disrespectful or ignorant about the struggles of the African American community. I honestly believe that legalization of marijuana is a good thing for our youth, black or white, as it removes distribution from the street and gives the police one less excuse to harass youth, white or black.
      I suspect you and I have more commonality than you might think. We are not enemies.

    • Nicole, have you, or anyone from your congregation for that matter, thought to have a conversation with the folks at Good Shepherd Lutheran on 22nd & E. Union, which is only a couple hundred feet away from Uncle Ike’s? I haven’t seen THEM all up in arms over a legal cannabis store opening up in such close proximity to their church, so maybe you should get their opinion first, before being so presumptuous as to speak on their behalf.

      And while I certainly agree that many of us operate under a paradigm of privilege, I fail to see what relevance race has to this particular situation. Are you suggesting your congregation would not be upset if the owner of this legal business were black or Asian? You seem to continue to argue this as if cannabis were still illegal, like the other mind-altering substances you mention (noting your significant lack of inclusion of tobacco and alcohol, which, while also legal substances, do far more damage to individuals, and therefore families, neighborhoods and entire communities, than any of the ones you selectively cite.)

      And if you want to establish ANY sort of credibility in this debate, the first thing you should do is ADMIT that your “1,000 foot rule for liquor stores” has already been proven to be untrue. Stating it once can be construed as simple ignorance; continuing to re-state it AFTER you’ve been given the facts can only be seen as FALSE WITNESS – and you know how Yeshua feels about that, yes?

    • Its ok if you want to make decisions based on some invisible being in the sky. I respect that as part of your religious freedom.

      It is not ok to blame others for not having the same beliefs. If you want to help your community, why does it have to be based on faith? You can’t help people just because you care about anyone other than yourself unless there is something in the afterlife as a reward?

    • Please reference the place where I blamed anyone for anything for not having my belief. We choose to have our community based on faith because that faith carried us through slavery, jim crow and living in America black. That faith and God has brought us a mighty long way despite the extreme conditions we have lived under.
      We help people because we are mandated to do so by our God and we do so with a glad and happy heart; why someone you don’t have to help is receiving our assistant based on what we believe happens in the afterlife is inconsequential. The help is given because of the Christlike love we believe in.

    • Nicole wrote, “We help people because we are mandated to do so by our God”

      Thanks for being upfront about your congregation’s motivations. It’s hard to give people credit for doing the right thing when they do it specifically because they believe that they were ordered to do so. Many of the rest of us help people simply because we’re good people and know that we’re all better off when we’re good to each other.

      I hope you can see the danger of teaching children to set aside logic and reason to believe in fanciful stories of gods and afterlives. We’re fortunate that in your church, that power is, at this time, used mostly for good.

      In a generation, though, the power of the sleeper cells we know as churches, prayer groups, and small groups, could be harnessed for bad. People need only tell children that their god mandates they do something else. It happened before with your religion, and it’s happening now with others.

  41. Has anyone considered maybe this uptight church is the cause of this neighborhood’s problems? Maybe we should protest them.

  42. a bit about their pastor:

    Witherspoon supports a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, settling the matter once and for all: “It needs to be etched in stone, for the survival of humankind, for the sake of moral rights,” he said.

    Witherspoon and his church have taken a lead in helping to reduce crime and improve conditions in Seattle’s Central Area. He has led marches and organized concerts and cookouts to reach out to troubled youths in the neighborhood.

    Ten years ago, his brother was killed just around the corner from his church.

    Witherspoon said he doesn’t believe in discrimination against anyone. He has family members who are gay, including a first cousin who died of AIDS. He believes gays are a product of their environment, much like drug addicts.

    “Thirty years ago, this was nowhere near the issue it is today,” he said. “I think because it’s become so accepted by so much of society, we are seeing more homosexuals than we’ve ever seen in our lifetime.”

    source: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2001906890_gaycivilrights19m.html

  43. Pingback: Should state turn over I-502 pot zoning to the Seattle City Council? | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  44. The tax-paying business wins.
    The church needs to shut the fuck up and pay taxes. Churches are a drain on our society.

  45. This is a pot shop, FGS. Our kids see far more than people going into a shop and leaving with a paperbag, on TV, daily. It’s the adults that are bringing this attention to the kids. The kids see violence, murder, rape, cursing, use of drugs, prostitution, racism, only to name a few, on TV on a daily basis. There is no such thing anymore as Prime Time TV. There are not allowed to enter this shop, so if no one tells them what is being sold, how will they know. Again, I say, be more concerned what is being shown and allowed to be watched, on TV, at any given time, on any given day.

  46. @ 21st Union—Nice to read an objective, insightful view/opinion about what this whole matter is about, hinges on and the real reason that its going to take rational and objective debate to resolve this matter. From the legal standpoint..the laws as they are written right now are undeniably on the side of Uncle Ike’s. It’s a very tricky thing for those trying to hold others in contempt on the grounds of morality, respect and and their religion. We all live in ‘glass houses’…no one should carry around rocks ready to fling them at whatever at that time they are against. When you get the Church ‘threatening’ and demanding and ‘taking matters into their own hands’, those kinds of actions as such can lead into muddy waters (i.e., Salem Witch Trials). Some comments here are against people standing behind the robe of the Lord and wagging their fingers at others they don’t like or agree with and passing judgement and retort, all in the name of seeming right and shouting down truths and facts as wrong and wicked. Come now…let it be said again, State & Law vs. Church & Religion. Whichever someone choose to err on..you gotta stand up for what you believe in, right or wrong, law or lies. I’m just saying….

  47. Should these people be holding up traffic, at a time when people are trying to get home from work and it is rush hour, or people are trying to get some lunch, to go back to work? Just because they are church people does not give them that right.

  48. I think if people of all ethnic and philosophical persuasions, put this much thought and energy into stopping the inhumane state of war and conflict that our taxes support, our community would be a better place. Peace, rmb

  49. What a lot of people DONT know about Pastor Witherspoon is that he has always been very diligent about different concerns and issues in the neighborhood. This isn’t the first rally in hopes of protecting the community as a whole. While there are those of you bashing him, and Christians, calling the church a cult etc, he and his congregation are praying for you and your families. The fact is the world has been so dumbed down that ANYTHING goes and the second anyone attempts to stand up for what they believe in they become a target for malicious attack.

    • That’s rich, declaring the rest of us “dumbed down” because we’ve evolved beyond the need to declare quaking fealty to a “deity” dredged up from the ignorant minds of Bronze Age Levantine sheep herders!

      Who ASKED you to pray for us? Who gave you any indication we WANT you to pray for us? It’s exactly this sort of arrogant “we know what’s best for you” paternalistic clap-trap that turned many of us away from organized religion in the first place. You want to pray? Be my guest. But pray for your own family & congregation and leave the rest of us out of your superstitious, irrational, unscientific, narcissistic belief system. We don’t need it, nor do we want any part of it, thank you very much.

  50. This is a very colorful spectrum here, about the whole: pro-Weed Shop vs. anti-Weed Shop and the advent of ‘race’, gentrification, potential crime and the “much-to-do-about-nothing”. You have the Black-side and their case, the White-side and their say, the Gray-side being the real-time (and I welcome it) Gentrification sweeping over the CD and, last but not least..Green, as in, it’s all about MONEY.

    In my 10yrs owning our home here in the CD (behind U.I.’s), I too have seen this very hotly contested area, steadily evolve on a positive uptick and with times being what they are, social economic shifts will continue to change the landscapes from what they once were to the ones that they’ll surely become. With the coming additions of mixed-use Retail/Residential projects in the the very near future, you best believe that the people who’ll occupy these dwellings will undoubtedly be prime patrons of this particular area in the CD as the life-style will dictate it. They want to be in the midst of it all. Who are we talking about here? A growing younger demographic with the money, means and motivation to live life on their own terms.
    In another 10yrs, I believe the Central District will have come be yet another chapter in the ever-changing lexicon that this area has undergone already over the last 60+ yrs. Change and Fear are the 2 most effective triggers that prompt our primordial ‘fight or flight response’. Funny how they both play off each other. I for one can’t wait until this area is just rife with vibrant restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. I’m passed the whining and vitriol against “change”…it is a-coming, it can not be stopped..progress, time and money won’t let it. So get with the times, keep pace or get left behind in the past—a place where some around here are still stuck.

  51. Interesting information…as the the Reverend of MCC, right next to (Uncle Ike’s), threatens to “do all they can to change the laws and vote for those who will be in favor of their cause to get rid of the (U.I’s) Pot Shops of the CentDistr, here is how the I.R.S. views that ill-fated move…

    Political Campaign Activity
    Under the Internal Revenue Code, all IRC section 501(c)(3)
    organizations, including churches and religious organizations,
    are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating
    in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or
    in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.
    Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements
    of position (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of the
    organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for
    public office clearly violate the prohibition against political
    campaign activity. Violation of this prohibition may result in
    denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition
    of certain excise tax.

    Sooooo, the [Churches’] proclamation that they’ll compel the State and Legislators to change the voter-approved law and mandate to achieve their desired outcome regarding ‘not having “dope houses” next to the church’. When you go poking the Bear….

    Jeopardizing Tax-Exempt Status:
    All IRC section 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and special tax laws religious organizations, must abide by certain rules:
    n their net earnings may not inure to any private shareholder
    or individual,
    n they must not provide a substantial benefit to private interests,
    n they must not devote a substantial part of their activities to
    attempting to influence legislation,
    n they must not participate in, or intervene in, any political
    campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for
    public office, and
    n the organization’s purposes and activities may not be
    illegal or violate fundamental public policy.

    It only takes (1) right person to get the ear of (one) ‘right’ person who can turn this thing into something that the Church will not recover from. I’m just saying….might wanna pick a different fight.

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  53. 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

    • I would try to respond to this shouty screed – if only I could figure out how to parse it all out in a way that would give it even a modicum of coherence. Maybe next stick to one or two salient – and brief – points, rather than what appears to be a rambling, incoherent, scatter-shot, everything-including-the-kitchen-sink diatribe, otherwise, you’re not going to get a debate, you’re just going to get a one-sided, raving monologue.

      But then, maybe that’s your intent…?

    • Typing a huge screed in all upper case is not a way to win friends and influence people. I stopped reading after the second line. If you do not know it’s considered rude to compose a whole reply in all upper case.

  54. Pingback: NW Cannabis Zone » ‘Shut it down’ — Rally, prayer against I-502 marijuana shop Uncle Ike’s at 23rd and Union

  55. Pingback: “My fight is not against marijuana …”Marijuana Public Media

  56. Pingback: Central Seattle’s only pot store, Uncle Ike’s sold $13,736 of marijuana per day in first week | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  57. Pingback: AfricaTown/CD | Seattle church leads protest against pot shop Local church protests against pot shop

  58. Pingback: Seattle church leads protest against pot shop Local church protests against pot shop | Africatown/Chinatown News Digest

  59. In reading the bulk of what has been said about this issue, it is unfortunate as to the lack of knowledge and understanding on the part of those who denigrate the church and those involved within it. The church in question has always for decades struggled to eliminate alcohol, and other vices as well as having a direct impact on the gangs, and drugs that were rampant in the area. When something happens in the Central District whether it be gangs, shootings, homeless, etc.,…………..and yes drugs where time and time and time again police, and government/Governors, Mayors, City Counsels, “finally ask” for help after being berated by the public to do something. Guess who is always included, if not the first individual asked to help in the intervention process they so desperately need that helps in getting positive results ?

    Reverend Reggie C. Witherspoon of Mount Calvary Christian Church.

    The positive impact this church has and continues having upon not only this area but beyond, is unfathomable. So where are the ones who complain in making positive changes, or stressing legalities, or point fingers at, when it comes to picking the hard things to tackle ? I haven’t seen them in the forefront of such tough subjects. But only through the obscurity and safety of hiding behind internet opinions and blogs. Sad to say the least.

    • I’ve lived in this neighborhood for over ten years, and not ONCE in all that time have I seen or heard of members of this church doing ANYTHING about any of the issues you mention. Just about every Friday morning there’s been a small group of people protesting the Iraq & Afghanistan wars, and other social issues, but from the looks of them, I seriously doubt any came from that church, as they were almost always middle-aged white women. After Ferguson, there’s been one black gentleman out on the intersection with bright neon-colored signs protesting against racial injustice, and I note that since the MCCC protest a few weeks ago, some of his slogans have reflected an anti-Ike’s message. But that is IT. MCCC has NEVER protested the liquor store or the gas station or the gangs and dealers on the street, NOT ONCE in 10 years time. Not a peep out of them until Uncle Ike’s opened and took away their “free parking” spaces next door to the church.

    • Been in and around the area for over 35 years. Have seen and been involved with said things you claim as not happening. Maybe you should come see for yourself at the church. It would be helpful in answering your doubts. Please consider it, I urge you. Thank you.

    • Thanks, but no thanks. I prefer to spend my precious time with self-actualized adults who don’t swear fealty to an imaginary, psychopathic old man in a bathrobe living in outer space somewhere.

  60. Pingback: Church sues to shut down marijuana shop at 23rd and Union, change the way Seattle zones pot | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  61. AFRICATOWN / CHINATOWN NEWS DIGEST SITES. Omari

    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

  62. Pingback: Pot Shop of the Month (October 2014): Uncle Ike's