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Seattle Times coverage of pot policy, culture and lifestyle.

December 5, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Judge: Uncle Ike’s pot store can stay open until 2015 suit is heard

A  judge ruled Friday that Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop can continue operation until the court hears a full lawsuit next November.

“An injunction is an extraordinary remedy … and the burden is on the plaintiff,” said King County Superior Court Judge Jean Rietschel at the hearing. “I will not grant it.”

Mount Calvary Christian Center is suing the recreational marijuana store because it claims the store is too close to the church’s teen center. Marijuana stores are required to be more than 1,000 feet from parks, recreation centers, schools and other prohibited venues where kids are thought to hang out, but are not required to be any distance from churches.

Much of the testimony concerned how often the teen center was used. As defined by state law, a recreation center hosts a “broad range of activities.”

In her ruling, Judge Reitschel noted that the activities offered by the church were closely associated with the church itself.

“At present, the teen center is opened primarily on Sundays for Kidz for Christ ministry and on Wednesday nights for youth Bible study and two Fridays a month,” said the judge. “Those activities by their types and hours … do not meet the burden of a broad range of activities.”

Judge Reitschel also said the church had not proven harm to children because the pot shop was allowed to be open. “There’s no showing of a failure of security at Ike’s … no showing of any sales or attempted sales to minors. I don’t see any actual showing of injury,” she said.

Ian Eisenberg, who owns Uncle Ike’s, said he was pleased to be able to conduct “business as usual” and planned to have “a nice sativa with lunch.”

“We’ll prove we’re good neighbors and do everything we can to help the church,” Eisenberg said. “We’ve always wanted dialogue with the church.”

Reverend Reggie Witherspoon of Mt. Calvary Christian Center said the ruling was disheartening but that the church’s fight would continue. “It’s not over. We’re not going away,” he said.

Witherspoon said the church would go over its options and chart a new legal strategy. Would he consider dialogue with Uncle Ike’s?

“Anything is possible,” said Witherspoon. “At this point, I’m feeling emotional and disheartened.”

Witherspoon said that if the two sides were to talk, he would consider pushing to make sure Uncle Ike’s wasn’t open on Sundays.

Uncle Ike’s had argued that if the store were shut down, it would lose “approximately $20,000 dollars in sales per day, and in an emerging market where market share is crucial.”

A judge denied a temporary restraining order against Uncle Ike’s on October 31. The church sought to prevent the pot store from operating ahead of a harvest festival it was holding.

In October, Eisenberg said he “did everything by the book” in establishing his store.

In November, Uncle Ike’s pulled in $569,615 in revenue, according to figures provided by the Liquor Control Board.

 

Comments | More in News | Topics: liquor control board, mount calvary christian center, uncle ike's

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