Driver flees after smashing truck into Capitol Hill’s Ruckus pot shop

Seattle Police were investigating after someone smashed a white Chevy pickup into the storefront of Capitol Hill pot shop Ruckus and fled the scene early Monday morning.

The crash was reported just after 3:30 AM at the 14th and Republican store where police could be seen cautiously approaching the truck and smashed-up pot shop. There were no occupants in the vehicle and it did not appear that the truck entered far enough to allow entry into the store. Continue reading

Police: Uncle Ike’s reports $135K in damage and losses in disgruntled employee’s hammer attack on two shops

(Image: Uncle Ike’s)

Despite a boom in cannabis revenue for many in the industry, Seattle’s Uncle Ike’s has had a rough go through the pandemic as the chain of pot shops saw its sales fail to keep up with competitors as its Capitol Hill and Central District stores were targeted with vandalism during equity and anti-police protests. Things didn’t get any better in a set of Tuesday, March 2nd incidents in which Ike’s management said a disgruntled employee did some $60,000 worth of damage to two of the chain’s shops and caused the loss of more than $75,000 in sales.

According to the SPD report on the incidents, police say Ike’s security video shows the suspect enter Ike’s flagship store at 23rd and Union just before 5 PM where he began laying waste to the retail space with a hammer, pushing down counters, breaking shelves. and damaging merchandise. Continue reading

2020’s year of pandemic saw record-breaking weed sales across state but a changing Capitol Hill and Central District market

502Data’s record of monthly state excise tax shows the 2020 boom

By Ben Adlin

Washington’s legal cannabis industry kept on booming even as “puff, puff, pass” was put on hold during the pandemic, breaking monthly sales records multiple times in 2020 and raking in hundreds of millions of dollars in state taxes. Growth was more modest in the city of Seattle, however, and slower still around Capitol Hill—a sign that many who once commuted into the city may be buying weed closer to home.

While the six shops that serve the Capitol Hill neighborhood—The Reef, Ruckus, Ponder and three Uncle Ike’s locations—together did more combined business in 2020 than the year before, according to state sales numbers through November, only The Reef kept pace with regional growth. Ponder and Ruckus each had smaller increases, while two of three Uncle Ike’s locations actually saw sales drop.

“This really does look like an outmigration,” said Jim MacRae, a data scientist who monitors the state’s cannabis market at Straight Line Analytics. “That suggests to me that business overall is shifting to different parts of the state.” Continue reading

Pot in Seattle is too white: Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force shaping plan to create new opportunities in state’s retail marijuana industry

Owner Ian Eisenberg watches a 2016 protest targeting his Uncle Ike’s pot shop at 23rd and Union

By Melissa Santos / Crosscut.com

A plan to bring social equity to the state’s mostly white marijuana industry was delayed by COVID-19. Now, things are inching forward.

Even before this year’s Black Lives Matter protests, Washington state’s legal cannabis industry had a well-known problem with race.

About 4% of the state’s population is Black. But Black people have a majority stake in only 1% of Washington businesses that grow and process marijuana, according to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, while roughly 3% of retail cannabis shops are majority Black owned. Some remain skeptical of those figures and say the picture is actually worse.

So, when former basketball star Shawn Kemp opened a shop that was initially billed as Seattle’s first Black-owned cannabis dispensary, headlines followed.

Except Kemp’s store didn’t do anything to budge those statewide numbers. In fact, he owns only 5% of the store that bears his name — and the business is actually majority white owned. The communications firm that originally promoted the store as Seattle’s first Black-owned cannabis dispensary later said it shouldn’t have done so.

For many, the dustup once again highlighted the lack of diversity in the state’s legal pot industry and the need to fix it. Continue reading

Seattle’s weird weekend of protest: Anti-gentrification rally and Uncle Ike’s boycott, pro-police protest at City Hall, ‘Let Us Worship’ concert in Cal Anderson

Friday’s cannabis protest

With reporting by Lena Friedman — CHS Intern

After a summer of protest, this weekend in Seattle might have been the strangest bout of activism yet with a demonstration targeting the city’s marijuana industry and most notorious potrepreneur getting things started and a huge — and hugely reckless — Christian concert in Cal Anderson finishing things off Sunday night.

In between, hundreds of people showed up outside City Hall to protest planned Seattle Police budget cuts, hundreds protested for those cuts and changes — and, by the time it was all over, there was broken glass again on Capitol Hill.

Things started Friday night with activists from Engage Seattle leading an “anti-gentrification rally and Uncle Ike’s boycott” encircling two of the Ian Eisenberg-owned cannabis shops.

“We are gathered here today to boycott Ike’s not because it’s successful, but because we are fed up with the racist lies, the hypocrisy, and the blatant and obvious and visible gentrification,” an organizer said in front of Uncle Ike’s flagship store on 23rd and Union, a prominent intersection where Black people were frequently arrested for selling marijuana and other drugs.

The Uncle Ike’s chain of pot shops continues to attract hundreds of protestors amid a growing campaign centered around racism within the cannabis industry. Continue reading

The Reef pot shop helps put Capitol Hill’s Arcade Plaza pavement park back into the game

(Image: CHS)

There wasn’t much left of the Capitol Hill Pac-Man pavement park but the arcade game-themed paint job. Thanks to neighboring pot shop The Reef, it won’t be game over for a public space that — despite the rarity of open space in this densely packed part of the Hill — was on its way to being returned to street parking

Friday, the marijuana retailer unveiled its makeover of the E Olive Way at Summit at Denny pocket park complete with concrete ping-pong tables, corn hole fixtures, park-grade tables, chairs, and lighting. There’s room for food trucks. And the shop says it plans to sponsor future live music performances and art installations in the park. Continue reading

Police investigating after ‘incendiary’ fire at Central District Uncle Ike’s

(Image: Uncle Ike’s)

The Uncle Ike’s shopping complex at the corner of 23rd and Union suffered $5,000 in damage in a suspected overnight arson fire.

Seattle Fire tells CHS their investigation determined the early morning Sunday fire was “incendiary” in nature meaning it was likely intentionally set.

Crews were called to the retail shop just before 2:30 AM after an automatic fire alarm was triggered. Arriving firefighters found light smoke coming from a rooftop vent and transitioned the call to a full response and bringing several trucks to the scene.

The fire was quickly taken care of and three people inside the shop were reported to have exited on their own without injury. Continue reading

Uncle Ike’s reorg? Pot retailer seeks cannabis board approval as it prepares to open new Capitol Hill shop

Uncle Ike's 15th Ave E

Uncle Ike’s 15th Ave E (Image: CHS)

Filings with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board indicate that Uncle Ike’s founder Ian Eisenberg is reorganizing the corporations and partnerships behind one of Seattle’s largest marijuana retailers as the chain is preparing to open a new Capitol Hill location later this year.

The applications for a transfer of existing licenses to a new Jet City Retail corporation were filed earlier this month.

Typically, assumption applications are part of the acquisition process for a new owner of an existing licensed business. But for the five applications filed May 7th for the various Uncle Ike’s locations around the city, the process appears to be corporate housekeeping and consolidating of the various limited liability corporations and companies brought together to form the various Ike’s entities. Continue reading

Suspect charged in Capitol Hill pot shop armed robbery

Police say the person identified as a suspect in a string of gunpoint robberies that included a hold-up at a Capitol Hill pot shop in which the armed 20-year-old allegedly blasted his way out a locked glass door has turned himself in.

Lucien Jordan has been charged with robbery in the first degree. Prosecutors say the Tacoma resident “engaged in a series of escalating acts of violence” including armed robberies across King County: Continue reading

Police say gunfire at Capitol Hill pot shop likely not related to string of robberies — UPDATE

(Image: CHS)

UPDATE 1/10/2020: Police have clarified that the suspect has been identified but they are still working to interview the person. “We are still searching for the suspect and will continue to until we can speak with them. Based on how that conversation goes we will be able to determine if charges are filed.” We have updated the headline to more accurately describe the complicated situation.

UPDATE 1/24/2020: A suspect has been charged in the incident.

The just-before-Christmas incident in which Capitol Hill cannabis dealer Ruckus was shot up and reportedly robbed has caused concern in the neighborhood about crime and violence connected to marijuana retailers as police investigate a string of area armed pot shop robberies. Just Monday morning, East Precinct officers responded to another armed hold-up reported at a shop on Rainier Ave just south of Jackson.

But CHS has learned that police aren’t searching for a suspect in the late night December 21st Ruckus incident in which a man reportedly opened fire inside the business and shattered the front door to exit with a bag of marijuana products while leaving behind a bag of cash. Continue reading