It’s been a while since legal dispensaries have been seen as controversial, but one in Seattle is causing quite the stir. The trouble arises from a statement made by Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis, a new dispensary that just opened October 30th, which falsely labeled itself the first Black-owned dispensary in the area.
Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis
On October 21st, the six-time All-Star’s new company issued a press release about its opening the next week, announcing a ceremony where Hall-of-Famer Gary Payton would cut a ribbon before the first customers were allowed in.
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“My name is on this company and I have worked hard to bring Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis to fruition,” said Kemp in a statement included in the release. “I want to provide nothing short of the best selection, customer experience and prices in Seattle. I have incredible partners in Matt Schoenlein and Ramsey Hamide to make sure we deliver on that promise to our customers, who are our top priority.”
The two men mentioned in that statement are the co-founders of Main Street Marijuana, which is the largest cannabis retailer in Washington State. Between the three shops all owned by that brand, the company has sold $150 million of cannabis since 2014. In Washington, that amounts to $55 million in excise taxes going back to the community. Kemp made no mention of John Davis, the Chief Executive Officer of Northwest Patient Resource Center, who holds the company’s licenses.
Here’s where things got sticky: The headline of the release labels Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis as Seattle’s first black-owned dispensary, and states that Kemp looks forward to, “Being a role model for future license recipients through the state’s upcoming social equity program.” That program was enacted earlier in the year.