Former NBA Player Shawn Kemp to Open Seattle’s First Black-Owned Dispensary

The cannabis industry is largely comprised of white dispensary owners, the NBA legend hopes to inspire more people of color to get involved in Seattle.

Photo by @weirdocult/Instagram

Seattle, WA. is home to over 50 marijuana dispensaries, and the Seattle Sonics legend Shawn Kemp is adding one more to the list. 

Kemp’s dispensary, aptly named Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis, is a notable addition to the city for more than one reason. The six-time All-Star made the Sonics a Western Conference powerhouse in the 90s, but what’s even more significant is that the pot shop is the first Black-owned dispensary in all of Seattle. The legal cannabis industry is booming, but in Seattle and beyond, the vast majority of dispensary owners are white.

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Social Inequity in the Cannabis Industry

“I hope that Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis will be an inspiration for people to get involved in the legal cannabis industry, especially people of color,” Kemp said in a press release.

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The state’s Commission on African American Affairs estimates that only about 1% of Washington’s recreational cannabis licenses are held by Black and brown people. 

“I’m looking forward to welcoming Sonics fans on a regular basis, starting with opening day,” Kemp said. 

Kemp, new to the cannabis industry, has partnered with industry veterans Matt Schoenlein and Ramsey Hamide, cofounders of Main Street Marijuana. Main Street Marijuana is one of the top dispensaries in all of Washington.

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

When Will it Open?

Kemp and former teammate and hall of famer Gary Payton are holding a green ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 30 at 12:45 p.m. The shop will officially open its doors to the public at 1 p.m. Payton has his own cannabis company, Cannasports, which sells NBA themed cartridges and batteries.

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The dispensary will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. daily. Adorning the side of Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis is a 30-foot-by-80-foot mural of the man himself, sporting his Sonics jersey. The mural was painted by local artist, Jeff Jacobson.

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Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis is located at 3035 1st ave. in the heart of downtown Seattle, near the Climate Pledge arena and the area’s famous Space Needle. The dispensary will be the largest in Seattle.

Kemp spent the first eight years of his NBA career playing for the Seattle Supersonics and retired in 2003. He still calls Seattle home. Kemp said that he looks forward to being a role model for future license recipients through the state’s upcoming social equity program that aims to diversify the legal cannabis industry.

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