The 15th Ave E location of the Uncle Ike’s pot retail empire has stirred up another call for boycott against the business.
Its owner says that a sign asking customers to donate to a neighborhood nonprofit and not give money to panhandlers was driven by the community — neighbors, merchants, and the city in meetings, and complaints on social media like Facebook and the Nextdoor neighborhood app.
But after the sign was moved recently from inside the store to replace a Harold & Kumar movie poster that had been framed in lights out front since the shop’s opening, its new prominence has neighbors talking, indeed.
A confluence of federal, state, and city regulations has pushed pot retailing in Seattle into concentrated pockets. On Capitol Hill, 15th Ave E at Republican and E Olive way are the areas that qualify across the spectrum of local and state requirements. The resulting concentration focuses the impact of the industry in specific areas of the neighborhood and the cash only nature of the business makes for a draw for people just looking to buy lunch and more entrepreneurial performers and artists looking for a little more.
Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg said he was partly just tired of the movie poster but also frustrated in state limitations that prohibited a more directly pot-related sign. Eisenberg said he decided to move the panhandling message from inside the store where it has been on display to the new location in blinking lights by the shop’s entrance.
In retrospect, the lights might be a bit much. Eisenberg says he also regrets being cheap about the donations. He is planning to update the poster with a promise to match donations made to the Country Doctor Health Clinics 100%. But, he wants the anti-panhandling message to stay.
UPDATE 4:30 PM: That was fast. Eisenberg says that somebody smashed up the sign overnight and has posted a security image and videos of “Hammer Girl” in an effort to identify the perpetrator:
UPDATE 1/4/2019: A new sign has gone up:
— jseattle (@jseattle) January 3, 2019
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