A West Seattle medical marijuana entrepreneur has been given the green light by the state Liquor and Cannabis Board to open a retail marijuana shop in the space last home to the Capitol Hill Family Arcade.
The permit approval for Lion’s Heart puts owner Daniela Bernhard one step closer to opening Capitol Hill’s second pot shop in a building owned by fellow potreprenuer Ian Eisenberg. Bernhard was a co-owner of the Northwest Patient Resource Center in West Seattle prior to moving ahead with her Capitol Hill business.
Bernhard did not respond to CHS requests for comment and Eisenberg said he could not comment on the approval.
Uncle Ike’s is a CHS advertiser.
Since Eisenberg shuttered his arcade late last year, renovation work has begun to make way for the pot business. Eisenberg paid $1.5 million for the property in hopes of opening a second Uncle Ike’s in the space, but could not secure a permit.
Lion’s Heart would mark the culmination of a long process to open an I-502 shop at 501 15th Ave E — one of the only allowed recreational pot locations on Capitol Hill. Prior to Eisenberg taking over, the Capitol Hill Veterinary Clinic left the building last year as Ruckus owner Sam Burke was gearing up to open his pot shop in the space. When a deal soured between Burke and Eisenberg, Eisenberg purchased the property and opened a video arcade.
The arcade seemingly had an advantage beyond Ms. Pac Man: complicating Burke’s mission to open Ruckus. Under old state regulations, I-502 retailers could not open within 1,000-feet of a place where children typically gather, including parks, schools, and video arcades. That buffer was relaxed to 500 feet in January thanks to a vote by the Seattle City Council and to help make more room for legal marijuana shops as the state increases the number of permits and rolls together the retail and medical regulations under one system.
Bernhard’s newly approved shop and Burke’s Ruckus — which opened across the street on Republican in December as the first I-502 pot shop on Capitol Hill thanks to a permitting technicality at Eisenberg’s arcade — might compete. But they will also enjoy each other’s company. The city’s new rules include a “dispersion” requirement that establishes a 1000-foot buffer wherever “two existing retail Major Marijuana Activity” business are located. The change is supposed to prevent the clustering of more than two marijuana retailers within the space of four to five city blocks.
In the meantime, Angel’s Shoe Repair opened up in the former vet clinic, though customers will need to use the back door until a final bit of construction is completed. And we’re not sure about where the Full Tilt Capitol Hill planned to be part of all of this fits in.
Since Uncle Ike’s opened, the shop and Eisenberg have been the target of protests. Most recently, MLK Day marchers rallied in the shop’s parking lot to protest a white business owner selling marijuana on a corner known for black residents getting arrested for illegally doing the same thing.
Some of the controversy surrounding Eisenberg was the subject of a Seattle Times feature over the weekend which focused on his shop’s cut rate prices and occasional cutthroat business practices. The story notes that Eisenberg sued nearby E Union pot shop Ponder for signs it put up when it opened in September.