By Roland Sebestyén
The grand opening of a more than 370 square metre cannabis shop has been announced by Shawn Kemp, the legendary power forward of the Seattle Sonics yesterday.
The 50-year-old former basketball superstar is partnering up with industry veterans and his former teammate, Hall of Famer Gary Payton, to get into the cannabis game in the US.
According to the press release, Mr. Kemp, who spent 14 years in the NBA, will be opening his new dispensary on 30 October in downtown Seattle, near to the iconic Space Needle.
It’s going to be a historic day as Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis will be the city’s first-ever “black-owned” cannabis dispensary.
He said he wanted to be a role model for future (cannabis) license holders through the state of Washington’s upcoming social equity programme.
He said: “I hope that Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis will be an inspiration for people to get involved with the legal cannabis industry, especially people of colour.”
Mr. Kemp teamed up with Matt Schoenlein and Ramsey Hamide, the two co-founders of the number one cannabis retailer of Washington, Main Street Marijuana.
He added: “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.
“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.”
— Dave “Softy” Mahler (@Softykjr) October 21, 2020
Washington became the first state in the US to legalise recreational cannabis in 2012. Although the state voted to legalise the drug along with Colorado on 6 November 2012, the new laws had taken effect sooner in Washington.
The state is a real pioneer in cannabis legislation, as medicinal cannabis use has been legal since 1998.
In the meantime, the industry is flourishing in Washington: cannabis sales have been increasing significantly since 2012, and in 2016 it finally reached the $1bn mark.