East Precinct meeting talks pot, reform, but mostly violent crime in the CD with City Attorney and SPD brass

Thursday night, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and East Precinct commander Captain Pierre Davis met with community members in a packed Seattle University room to talk about updates on precinct crime and how SPD and the attorney’s office can better serve residents.

Many of those in attendance who spoke vented their frustration and concerns with both the nuisance of day to day criminal activity and more serious violence around Capitol Hill and the Central District.

“Cops can’t do everything,” Holmes told the crowd. “if there are building code violations, if there is something that SDOT can do… that [collaboration between departments] is something that my office is really good at helping pull in.” He added that law enforcement is not always the solution. “It could be civil, it could be regulatory.”

Violent crime, particularly in the Central District, was on most attendees’ minds, particularly the intersection of 23rd and Union, which has recently seen numerous instances of gunfire.

“It’s not about gentrification, it’s not about any of that shit. It’s about getting gangs off the streets … you can actually time it [when gun shots occur],” said one attendee.

Some speakers blamed the Midtown Center property at 23rd and Union for the criminal activity. One speaker called out property owner Tom Bangasser — who was present at the meeting — for not selling the property to developers fast enough because he was waiting as the value rises. Continue reading

Uncle Ike’s owner snatches up 15th Ave E property sought by tōk pot shop owner

Samuel Burke was well on his way to opening Capitol Hill’s first retail marijuana shop this spring, but a curveball from a surprising source is putting his plans on hold.

Late last month, Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg bought the 15th Ave E and E Republican building where Burke has been planning to open tōk. Eisenberg bought the Capitol Hill Veterinary Clinic for $1.5 million under his company Capitol Hill Holdings, LLC.

The acquisition gives Eisenberg a potential contingency plan if Uncle Ike’s is forced to move, though he didn’t rule out the possibility of leasing the property to Burke. “I have a lawsuit trying to force me to move as well as a state senate bill forcing me to move,” Eisenberg told CHS. Continue reading

Olympia Roundup: New medical pot system, renter posthumous rights, light rail to Ballard

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 8.49.26 PMThe bills are in, now its time for state legislators to take action. Last month, we wrote about how revenue and education would be the overriding issues facing Olympia this year. That remains the case, but Capitol Hill’s 43rd District delegation — which includes Sen. Jaime Pedersen, House Speaker Frank Chopp, and Rep. Brady Walkinshaw – are involved in a number of other issues also affecting Capitol Hill.

  • Medical marijuana bill passes Senate — A bill seeking to rein in the state’s largely unregulated medical marijuana system and bring it more in line with the highly regulated retail market is heading to the House after it passed the Senate earlier this month. SB 5052 would create a database of medical patients, and allow those patients to possess up to three times more marijuana than non-patient adults. Patients could grow up to six plants at home and the bill would replace the current collective garden structure with 4-person coops. The bill would also give the state Liquor Control Board, which regulated marijuana, a much needed new name: the Liquor and Cannabis Board. Continue reading

Uncle Ike’s first Christmas comes up big but 2015 starts with Washington pot supply (finally) exceeding demand

(Source: WSLCB)

Uncle Ike’s sales outpaced state growth totals on the holiday revenue end of things (Source: WSLCB)

Uncle Ike's first customers were paying $26 for the shop's cheapest gram (Photo: Alex Garland)

Uncle Ike’s first customers were paying $26 per gram for the cheapest strains, now selling for $10. (Photo: Alex Garland)

If you’ve been avoiding Seattle’s retail marijuana shops because of the sky high prices, now might be the time to make a visit . Across the state, retail marijuana prices have dropped by over half in some places from when sales first started last summer.

At Uncle Ike’s, Capitol Hill’s nearest recreational pot retailer at 23rd and Union, some strains are now selling for around $10 per gram. The average gram was selling for $30 when the store opened in September. At the time, the state hadn’t permitted enough growers to meet demand, but the tides have apparently turned.

“Processors are now just sitting on hundreds of pounds and they can’t sell it,” said Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg. “There are more growers coming on line every day.”

In fact, Eisenberg said the CHS advertiser has so much surplus that he’s having to build out more storage for the glut of pre-packaged pot. Eisenberg filed construction permits for the work last month.

The lower prices may get more customers in the door, but Eisenberg said he and other I-502 retailers still can’t compete with the less regulated and less taxed medical market. This week, City Attorney Pete Holmes issued a call to state lawmakers to fold the medical system in the I-502 framework, a proposal Eisenberg said he supports.

Still, Uncle Ike’s remains one of the most successful shops in the state. State sales jumped 5% on average between November and December, while sales at Uncle Ike’s jumped 23%. Eisenberg’s shop was responsible for 4.15% of total marijuana sales in the state in December with just over $700,000 in pre-tax sales.

An ongoing lawsuit from a neighboring church isn’t slowing Ike’s down, either. In December, a King County Superior Court judge denied Mount Calvary Christian Center’s attempt to shut down Ike’s while their lawsuit against the business moves through court. The church is suing the pot shop for operating too close to a facility it says it being used as a teen center.

Meanwhile, a shuttered pot delivery service that operated on Capitol Hill is getting a new life in the legal market. Last month, the state liquor board approved the Winterlife Coop to become a marijuana processor at a north Seattle facility. Winterlife’s plans include producing “solvent-less” concentrates for vaporizers using alcohol rather than petroleum.

“Our main focus is edibles and concentrates as we believe that more and more the customer base will move away from smoking as the primary delivery source,” Winterlife’s Evan Cox told CHS. “It’s quite a change, but we’ve been preparing for it for some time and we’re overjoyed.”

And one last note: The timeline for an I-502 store opening on 15th Ave E is getting moved back again. Samuel Burke told CHS he now hopes to open tōk sometime in May.

City attorney calls for pot lounges and a crackdown on illegal medical shops

In 2013 we called it the renter’s paradox: Washington has legal pot, but many people, including renters and tourists, don’t have a place to “legally” use it. At the time, City Attorney Pete Holmes said the legislature needed to address the issue. This week, Holmes issued a wide-ranging memo urging the legislature to make legal pot reforms, including allowing for “marijuana use lounges.”

Single family homeowners have a legal place to consume marijuana; others, however, such as out-of-town visitors, the homeless, and renter and condominium owners whose building do not permit marijuana use, have fewer options. Enforcement against public marijuana use will be more effective if people have alternative locations to use marijuana legally.

With a prohibition against using marijuana “in view of the general public,” the situation has left some conscientious renters and tourists wondering where they can technically smoke-up.

Holmes envisions the new lounge businesses would be 21 and over, allowed to sell food but not alcohol, and restricted to vaporizers and edibles. Since legal pot can’t be used where it’s sold, lounge customers would have to bring their own product. Continue reading

City Hall quiet as plans for Capitol Hill pot shop tōk move forward

A sign of pot's maturing presence around central Seattle, Uncle Ike's gets an upgrade (Photo: CHS)

A sign of retail pot’s maturing presence around central Seattle, Uncle Ike’s gets a signage upgrade (Photo: Uncle Ike’s)

Sometimes, no news is good news. Samuel Burke tells CHS he never heard any objections from Mayor Ed Murray’s office by the December 4th deadline to reply to his application for a retail marijuana shop at 15th Ave E and E Republican. That should mean Burke’s proposed location is officially a go.

A 1,000 ft. buffer around the future home of tōk.

A 1,000 ft. buffer around the future home of tōk.

According to state law, a retail marijuana shop must keep a 1,000-foot buffer from schools, parks, or community centers. Initially, city and state officials thought the 15th Ave  location was too close to the Parkside School daycare. But with the city’s tacit approval of the location, Burke can now forge ahead with his application at the Liquor Control Board

If all goes according to plan, Burke told CHS he would be opening Capitol Hill’s first retail marijuana shop in early 2015 inside the space currently occupied by the Capitol Hill Animal Clinic.

Burke has also settled on a name for his new venture: tōk. “It has some elegance,” he said. Continue reading

Uncle Ike’s back in court to fight church’s attempt to shut down 23/Union pot shop — UPDATE

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 10.47.39 AMHaving put down the neighboring church’s first attempt to shutter the shop with a temporary restraining order, the Central District’s I-502 pot shop Uncle Ike’s was back in court Friday as lawyers for Mount Calvary Christian Center made their case again that the marijuana store never should have been allowed to open in the first place at 23rd and Union.

UPDATE: Ike’s camp tells us the temporary injunction was denied and that the shop will be open as usual to serve your holiday shopping needs. The larger case against the shop, state, and city isn’t scheduled to go to trial until next year.

“The Washington Legislature enacted provisions to protect children from marijuana retail business operations, not to protect retail marijuana businesses, and invoke mandatory directives regarding location and distance of such exposure,” the plaintiffs wrote in the motion filed in King County Superior Court. “The defendants completely ignored that directive.” Continue reading

I-502 permit holder hopes to open Capitol Hill’s first pot shop in February

If all goes according to plan, Capitol Hill will have its first retail marijuana shop this February. But that’s a big “if” for shop owner hopeful Samuel Burke.

After failing to get the city’s approval in three Belltown locations, Burke is cautiously awaiting the city’s response to his proposed location at 15th Ave E and E Republican, currently home the the Capitol Hill Animal Clinic. According to state law, a retail marijuana shop must keep a 1,000-foot buffer from schools, parks, or community centers.

“Each time the city objected and we couldn’t over come it,” Burke told CHS of his previous three proposals. “It’s just such a privilege to think I could locate on Capitol Hill.”

Right now, things are looking good for Burke. Continue reading

I-502 lottery winner makes new plans to open pot shop on Capitol Hill

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The possible location of Capitol Hill’s first pot shop. (Photo: CHS)

An I-502 lottery winner is setting his sights on a 15th Ave E and E Republican location to open Capitol Hill’s first retail marijuana shop.

According to the state liquor board, Samuel Burke has submitted an application for a retail marijuana permit for the space currently occupied by the Capitol Hill Animal Clinic.

The application lists the same trade name Burke used to enter the I-502 lottery at the 15th Ave E location. In July, Burke told the Seattle Times that he settled on an unspecified location for his shop after hitting snags in two other places.

CHS tried to contact Burke, but the phone number listed on his I-502 application has been disconnected. Continue reading

Central Seattle’s I-502 pot shop turns in a $trong October

With one court win under its belt and the current legal fight shifting to sort out the latest attempt to shut the shop prior to the holidays, 23rd and Union’s Uncle Ike’s seems to also be doing alright on the business end of things.

The state’s records show the store, which opened on the last day of September, had a great October. Liquor control board records, in fact, rank Uncle Ike’s as the third highest grossing I-502 retail shop in the state last month:

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 2.11.10 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 2.11.33 PM

One caveat on the numbers — our friends at highaboveseattle.com are working on what happened to the totals of New Vansterdam in Vancouver which was raking in more than $20,000 per day earlier this year. Even when that is cleared up, Uncle Ike’s is probably still in the top four.

At more than $15,000 per day in marijuana sales, Ike’s, a CHS advertiser, has kept up the pace CHS reported after its first week of business — and then some. 23rd and Union’s gains could be losses for other areas of the city, however. High Above Seattle notes that co-owner KC Franks also was awarded I-502 licenses for other parts of the city and, with the success of Ike’s, may be less likely to pursue opening additional stores.

Uncle Ike’s wins one battle — bigger court fight to come

(Image: Uncle Ike's)

(Image: Uncle Ike’s)

Central District pot shop Uncle Ike’s has scored a small victory in the court battle to close the I-502 retailer. Friday, a King County Superior Court judge denied an attempt to shutter the 23rd and Union business until the legal battle brought by neighboring Mount Calvary Christian Center is decided.

A temporary restraining order would have been costly for Ike’s — CHS reported that the only pot shop serving Central Seattle has churned out nearly $14,000 in sales per day.

Following the decision, Ike’s, a CHS advertiser, can continue to do business as the legal proceedings play out. The first hearing is slated for next week.

CHS first reported here on the Mount Calvary lawsuit against Ike’s ownership, the state and the City of Seattle. The church is calling for a closure of the marijuana store as it claims the store should have never been permitted because of its close proximity to a teen center the church operates across the street and other facilities like a parklet nearby at 25th and Union.

Capitol Hill pot publisher covering the business of Seattle’s retail pot economy

10336788_301921989965574_8598761731603846361_nWhile there might not be any I-502 pot shops on Capitol Hill proper that doesn’t mean marijuana-related businesses aren’t cropping up around the Hill. One man is even crazy enough to try to make it in the media business! John Tommervik created High Above Seattle to review bud and rate the new stores opening around the city. It launched in March. You can check it out at highaboveseattle.com.

“I looked at applying for marijuana license and all these different things and I just realized that where I would be best at because of being a creative director and a marketer and all that is to develop a website that just focuses on the local Seattle marijuana industry and just cover it,” said Tommervik who runs the site from Capitol Hill and lives in the neighborhood.

He says his home neighborhood is a big influence on HAS and the growing marijuana industry in Seattle. Continue reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Central Seattle’s only pot store, Uncle Ike’s sold $13,736 of marijuana per day in first week

The staff at Ian Eisenberg's pot and car wash emporium (Image: Uncle Ike's)

The staff at Ian Eisenberg’s pot and car wash emporium (Image: Uncle Ike’s)

Source: WSLCB

Source: WSLCB

Anybody who thinks Washington’s I-502 pot business is fun and games better just mellow out. CHS has obtained records from the state that document the first week of sales at Uncle Ike’s, the first I-502 retailer to operate in Central Seattle within wafting distance of Capitol Hill. The totals are impressive.

According to the state liquor board, the 23rd and Union pot shop started things off with a bang, netting nearly $17,000 in marijuana sales on its September 30th launch day. The rest of the week didn’t fade generating an average take of $13,736 per day. Continue reading

Should state turn over I-502 pot zoning to the Seattle City Council?

Mount Calvary Christian Center prayed, rallied and waved signs Sunday at 23rd and Union (Image: CHS)

Mount Calvary Christian Center prayed, rallied and waved signs Sunday at 23rd and Union (Image: CHS)

Sumedha Majumdar — CHS Fall 2014 Intern contributed to this report.

As protest continues in the Central District over a retail marijuana shop opening next to a church, community members and city officials are asking for a review of how pot shops are located in Seattle. Is it already time for lawmakers to start making changes to the state’s young recreational marijuana law?

In August, CHS spoke with I-502 author Alison Holcomb about how the law was progressing. At the time, we discussed the possibility of giving local officials authority to approve the locations of I-502 stores, rather than the state liquor board. Couldn’t Seattle’s City Council approve the location of 21 retail marijuana shop locations under its own rules?

“Politically it’s a lot cleaner,” Holcomb said this summer. “That makes a lot of sense to me.” Continue reading