Finally, Seattle has a second pot store.
Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop, in the Central District, opened its doors to a steady stream of customers Tuesday, nearly three months after the first state-licensed pot stores launched.
The opening at 23rd Avenue and East Union Street drew customers of all types, including neighbors and tourists, nurses and rock musicians. “It’s the full gamut,” said Ian Eisenberg, Uncle Ike’s owner. “What we were hoping for.”
Uncle Ike’s first customer, Ryan Elbrecht, who recently moved to Seattle from Florida, had been waiting since 9 p.m. for the store to open. He bought a single gram of Snoop’s Dream, but didn’t seem particularly interested in his purchase.
“I haven’t smoked weed in a year,” Elbrecht said. “I don’t even like weed that much.”
Monday night, he explained, he’d been drinking with a childhood friend at a nearby bar, The Neighbor Lady. His friend bet him $1,000 to be the first person in line at Uncle Ike’s.
Although he slept outside the Uncle Ike’s door, Elbrecht said he’d let his friend’s drunken bet slide and take a couple months of free rent instead.
Third in line, Kay Hendon, or “Crazy Kay,” as her linemates called her, danced and sang her way into the store, hamming for TV cameras. “Welcome to the CD,” she announced after buying some kush, referring to her longtime neighborhood the Central District. “Everybody’s got to get high,” she shouted to the line outside as she made her exit.
About 25 people waited in line at Uncle Ike’s, a fraction of what Cannabis City, Seattle’s first pot store, drew when it opened on July 8. Eisenberg said that was just fine with him.
“I was a little apprehensive. The line is good. We were scared we would be like Cannabis City and get lines around the block,” he said. The company hired ex-military security guards to check IDs and keep a watchful eye on customers at Uncle Ike’s, which Eisenberg and store manager Ben Smith call the “fortress,” a nod to the store’s metal siding and four backroom safes.
Inside, the “fortress” looks more like a minimalist jewelry shop — a long glass counter holds bags of pot, pre-rolled joints and edibles. Posters of anti-pot propaganda movies with titles like “She Shoulda Said ‘No’!” and “Devil’s Harvest” adorn Uncle Ike’s plain interior.
Uncle Ike’s charged $26 a gram for bud, regardless of brand, and $44 for an edible with 10 mg of THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. Both prices include tax. “If you’re going to price shop compared to dispensaries then this is not the place,” said Eisenberg. “But ours is tested and you know what you’re getting.”
Concerned about supply, Uncle Ike’s operations manager Ben Smith said the store would limit customers to four grams initially and keep hours from noon to 7 p.m.
Smith said he believed the store would have enough pot to last about ten days, and was excited because growers had been calling to offer more supply. “Until you have a license in your hand, it’s hard to get anyone to talk to you,” said Smith. Eisenberg said Uncle Ike’s had deals with about ten suppliers.
So far, Uncle Ike’s employs 14 people, but plans to add more as business ramps up. “We’re going to play it by ear,” said Smith, who ran Seattle Collective Garden, a medical marijuana dispensary he said was shut down by the Drug Enforcement Administration last year.
Curious Central District residents came to buy pot, or just check out their new neighbor.
“(Uncle Ike’s) is going to breathe life into this corner,” said John Ketchpaw, who has lived in the Central District for six years, from the line outside.
Neighbors Mary and Gerald Singletary watched from across the street as Uncle Ike’s buzzed with activity. “We came here to eyeball,” said Mary. “I think it’s a bad thing. It’s right next to a church.”