This ex-NBA star once arrested on drug charges opens Seattle’s first black-owned cannabis dispenser

Abu Mubarik October 29, 2020
This ex-NBA star who was once arrested for possessing cannabis opens the first black owned cannabis dispenser in Seattle. Photo credit: Ben Arthur

Shawn Kemp, a former National Basketball Association star, was once arrested in Harris County, Texas in 2006 for possessing less than 2 ounces of cannabis. Fourteen years down the lane, the Seattle SuperSonics legend is a cannabis entrepreneur.

He is now the owner of Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis, the first black-owned cannabis dispensary in Seattle, Washington. The dispensary, located near the Climate Pledge Arena and the iconic Space Needle, is about 4,000-square-foot and it will be officially opened for business on Friday, October 30, 2020.

“My name is on this company and I have worked hard to bring Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis to fruition,” Kemp said in a statement. “I want to provide nothing short of the best selection, customer experience and prices in Seattle. 

The cannabis industry in America is estimated to pomp up to $130 billion on an annual basis into the U.S. economy by 2024, according to Marijuana Business Factbook. It further estimates that legal cannabis sales increased from $38 billion-$46 billion in 2019 to $106 billion-$130 billion by 2024 – a 181% increase. And according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the $130 billion figure is similar to the 2019 gross domestic product of Nebraska’s $129 billion.

Kemp, who is entering the fast-growing cannabis industry for the first time, is partnering with industry veterans Matt Schoenlein and Ramsey Hamide, two of the co-founders of Main Street Marijuana. 

Main Street Marijuana has remained the number one cannabis retailer in the state of Washington since the company’s inception in 2014. The brand’s three shops have surpassed $150 million in sales and have contributed more than $55 million in excise tax.

Kemp is looking forward to being a role model for future license recipients through the state’s upcoming social equity program, created earlier this year. “I hope that Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis will be an inspiration for people to get involved with the legal cannabis industry, especially people of color,” said Kemp.

Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis will be open from 8 a.m. – 11:45 p.m. daily and will offer express order kiosks, online ordering and curbside pickup. Health and safety measures will include social distancing protocols and mask requirements in accordance with state mandates, a statement from Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis said.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: October 29, 2020


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