After protests and a fizzled lawsuit, Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop is offering an olive branch to the church next door: a later opening time on Sundays and free parking.
Last fall, soon after the recreational weed store opened, Mount Calvary Christian Center’s Pastor Reggie Witherspoon led a rally protesting that a pot shop had opened next door to his church. Eventually, he sued to get the store shut down but then dropped out of that lawsuit because it was too expensive. (As of February, it appeared the suit might continue on behalf of an organization called Respect the Central District. The lawyer representing that group wasn’t immediately available for comment today.)
Now, Uncle Ike's is offering to open at noon instead of 10 a.m. on Sundays and says it's ready to offer its parking lot to churchgoers in order to, according to an announcement from the store, "reduce tensions” with the church. (Mount Calvary holds 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. services.) In the announcement, Eisenberg says he hasn't heard back on the parking offer, but he's ready to talk about other ways to help the church and pot store "coexist peacefully."
Witherspoon has been outspoken about his opposition to Uncle Ike’s, but hasn’t yet made a statement or returned my call about Eisenberg’s offer.
“While I’m personally against marijuana, it’s legal now, and that’s not my fight,” Witherspoon previously told The Stranger. “I’m against what it means for our kids, for our institution, and for our community, for it to be here. This is a way in which capitalism has resulted in an unfair disrespect to an institution. I’m tired of being disrespected.”
As Kathleen wrote in this feature, Uncle Ike’s is not only close to the church, but part of an intersection in the Central District that has come to represent the fight against gentrification in Seattle.
Here’s what Eisenberg had to say about that just before the store opened back in September: “Everyone was talking about that today—does it gentrify the neighborhood? I guess any new business contributes to gentrification. Is this pushing out a local drug dealer? Well, I sure as hell hope so. That's the whole point of I-502. If that's considered gentrification, then the word's getting misused to the point of being asinine."
Uncle Ike’s was the second recreational pot store to open in Seattle and has since sold more than $3.5 million of weed, generating about $882,000 in state taxes, according to data from the Liquor Control Board.
“I want Uncle Ike’s to be a model recreational marijuana business in Seattle,” Eisenberg says in the announcement, “and to be a constructive part of this community.”