Capitol Hill’s king of pot adds the draw of clean cannabis and new E Olive Way shop

Uncle Ike’s Ian Eisenberg (Image: CHS)

Capitol Hill and the Central District’s top provider of pot, Uncle Ike’s has begun randomized pesticide testing on products directly from its shelves in an effort to incentivize vendors to provide clean cannabis and push the state to act.

The program, called Ike’s OK, started in October with five products and will continue testing five more products each month indefinitely as a way of regulating a market that is under very little government supervision. The state only requires potency testing certificates of analysis with each product, but no similar documentation for pesticide testing.

For Tobias Coughlin-Bogue, a journalist who has written extensively on pesticide use in pot, the legalization of recreational marijuana, which came in December 2012, was just the first step toward it becoming a safe consumer good.

“It’s not complicated, it’s not like we did any real wizardry,” said Coughlin-Bogue, who helped develop the program. “It’s just a basic safeguard, but it’s one that we should have had four years ago.”

Uncle Ike’s is one of a handful of companies in the retail pot business but its sales outstrip competitors by a long shot. And soon, even more Capitol Hill pot will come through Uncle Ike’s as the chain prepares to open a new location on E Olive Way. Continue reading

Defiant Ruckus growing as Capitol Hill’s non-Ike’s pot shop

Ruckus Recreational on E Republican at 15th expanded their tiny grass shop into the joint next door in January but no one on the staff remembers which day exactly. With the square footage of a van, the original low profile boutique could easily be overlooked.

“That space didn’t allow us to expand our product line,” said Ruckus owner Sam Burke, yet sales at Ruckus are only getting higher. The company grossed $261,000 in December 2017 and has grown 13.3% annually since opening two years ago, according to industry tracker Top Shelf Data.

Compared to Uncle Ike’s, the Goliath weed stronghold with a location across the street, one at 23rd and Union, and another in the works on E Olive Way, Ruckus was also an easy target for thieves. After five separate smash and grab break-ins, Burke increased security measures of the newly expanded shop.

The store opens every day at 8 AM to a sleepy stream of regulars who point to what they want with little deliberation.

“It’s just like getting up and going to buy a pack of cigarettes,” says Ruckus product buyer, Bill Eddy. Continue reading

Seattle moves to wipe away old pot possession convictions

The City of Seattle will join San Francisco in retroactively applying marijuana legalization laws to past pot possession convictions, Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office announced Thursday morning.

“Today, former U.S. Attorney and Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes will announce plans for the City to move to vacate misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions prosecuted by the City before marijuana was legalized in Washington. Passed in 2012, I-502 legalized the possession and recreational use of marijuana for adults ages 21 years or older,” the announcement reads. Continue reading

‘SAVE OUR POST OFFICE’ — 15th Ave E meeting to help Postal Plus find a new home

Zhang (Image: CHS)

Zhang (Image: CHS)

As what could be the biggest change for the street in decades plays out, the community around 15th Ave E’s shops and restaurants is coming together to help make a smaller change in the neighborhood work out for a longtime neighborhood business.

In October, CHS reported that mailing and package services stop Postal Plus was faced with doubling rent and needed to find a new home. Sunday, a neighborhood meeting organized by resident Ellen Taft is being held at Victrola to help postmaster Ed Zhang find a new home:

SAVE OUR POST OFFICE

Taft says Sen. Patty Murray Rep. Pramila Jayapal aide Raman Khanna will be on hand for the meeting.

The business situation around Postal Plus is more complicated than most small ventures on the street. Continue reading

Uncle Ikes — and Angel’s Shoe Repair — now open on Capitol Hill

Eisenberg inside the new shop Friday morning (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Eisenberg inside the new shop Friday morning (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Seattle’s largest pot purveyor and the city’s oldest shoe cobbler are finally ready to make their improbable double-header debut on Capitol Hill.

Ian Eisenberg opened his third Uncle Ike’s marijuana shop at 15th and E Republican Friday at 8 AM while Ray Angel debuted his re-opened Angel’s Shoe Repair next door after closing last year.

Eisenberg said he expects his Capitol Hill shop, the neighborhood’s second, will be less of a destination than the first Uncle Ike’s on 23rd and Union. “Probably more of a neighborhood feel, more people walking in because there’s less parking,” he said. Continue reading

Uncle Ike’s Capitol Hill, the neighborhood’s second retail pot shop, opens Friday

(Image: Uncle Ike's via Twitter)

(Image: Uncle Ike’s via Twitter)

The largest pot retailer in Seattle — and the second largest I-502 shop in the state — is set to open its Capitol Hill expansion.

Uncle Ike’s announced Monday that its 15th Ave E location will be open for business starting Friday. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s outlaw bike-powered pot delivery service is shutting down

winterlifeAfter three improbable years, Capitol Hill’s marijuana delivery service is putting the brakes on its bike-powered co-op. Club Raccoons is still taking orders, but the co-op’s organizer says the operation will grind to a halt sometime this summer.

With an active Twitter presence and daily menu postings on Craigslist, the Raccoons made headlines in 2013 for openly advertising pot delivery that was as easy as ordering a pizza. It was also illegal, according to law enforcement officials. Continue reading

In case it wasn’t clear (because it wasn’t), Uncle Ike’s is coming to Capitol Hill

Thanks for the picture @uncle_vinny. You're our favorite uncle.

Thanks for the picture @uncle_vinny. You’re our favorite uncle.

That second pot shop approved by the state at one intersection on Capitol Hill at 15th and Republican? It will be an Uncle Ike’s.

The latest twist in the As the Weed Turns-level soap opera playing out around 15th Ave E pot is that building owner Ian Eisenberg is, indeed, a big part of the plan to open a new pot shop on the corner.

We asked Eisenberg — a CHS advertiser — after seeing a sign teasing the Uncle Ike’s brand show up outside the construction underway to transform the former veterinary clinic into a new Uncle Ike’s.

We already knew another pot shop was coming to the street. And we knew it would be in Eisenberg’s building. In February, CHS reported on the approval of an I-502 retailer license for an entity called Lion’s Heart owned by Daniela Bernhard, a veteran of Seattle’s medical pot dispensary scene. The location for the permit is across the street from Ruckus which opened in December as the first I-502 pot shop on Capitol Hill.

Now we know Eisenberg will be involved in more than just developing the property he acquired for $1.5 million in 2015 and collecting rent. Continue reading

Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop called out for paying budtenders below minimum wage

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

The owner of Seattle’s most prolific marijuana shop is apologizing after paying several of his employees below Seattle’s minimum wage. Around 10 budtenders at Uncle Ike’s had been getting paid $10 an hour, 50 cents below the city’s minimum wage as of January, according to owner Ian Eisenberg. Eisenberg said it was a simple misunderstanding, but one employee says it took her multiple attempts to rectify the situation.

The issue at the 23rd and Union pot shop was first reported on by The Stranger, which revealed a series of text messages budtender Nicole Stotts had with a payroll manager. The manager, contracted by Uncle Ikes, erroneously told the the employee that her tips counted towards her wage.

Seattle does not have a so-called tip credit. The 2015 minimum wage law phases in a $15 minimum wage over several years with different timelines depending on the size of a business and the benefits it offers. Uncle Ike’s is required to pay its employees at least $10.50 an hour as it pays for medical benefits. Continue reading

$1.7 million per month in Central District and Capitol Hill pot sales

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 3.10.22 PMLast week as the state’s entrepreneurial ranks of I-502 retailers did their best to drum up even more business on 4/20, protesters again targeted 23rd and Union’s Uncle Ike’s to speak out against change in the neighborhood — and, for some, the inequitable way the legalized drug industry has played out. But just how big has the industry grown?

Across Capitol Hill and the Central District, there were more than $1.7 million in I-502 marijuana sales last month, according to state data organized by 502data.com. 84% of that was generated by Ike’s. The rest were generated by Uncle Ike’s closest competitor, Ponder, which opened in September just down the block on E Union, and 15th Ave E/Republican’s Ruckus, which opened as the first pot shop on Capitol Hill in December.

37% of those dollars went back to the state, remember. Since its birth in late September 2014, Uncle Ike’s has paid the state $6.9 million in excise tax. Don’t feel too sorry. Owner Ian Eisenberg got to put the remaining $12.3 million of it to work powering the business and doing whatever else he likes to do with his money. Uncle Ike’s is a CHS advertiser! In the meantime, Ike’s is now the second largest pot retail location in the state after Vancouver’s Main Street Marijuana.

How the sales trends will continue is anybody’s guess. The three active retailers in the area produced growth of 11% month over month coming into March. We’re going to assume 4/20 sales were good. And another boost is in the works as Capitol Hill’s second I-502 pot shop — and the second along 15th Ave E — is currently under construction.

Counting producers and processors as well as retailers, Washington pot is a $17 million per month industry. State sales totals from 502data.com

Counting producers and processors as well as retailers, Washington pot is a $17 million per month industry. State sales totals from 502data.com