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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Shawn Kemp brings Sonics nostalgia to store opening

By John Nelson EVERCANNABIS Correspondent

The grand opening of Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis in late October in Seattle had a distinct ’90s-era Seattle SuperSonics vibe.

Live and in person, you had the Reign Man himself, along with former teammate Gary Payton, a.k.a., The Glove, joined by hundreds of weed-smoking Sonics fans, who had come to celebrate the new business not far from where the two former NBA stars once played.

The budtenders wore No. 40 Kemp Sonics jerseys amid artwork and photos of Reign Man and The Glove hanging on the handsome brick walls of the showroom, a 4,000-square-foot space that immediately makes it one of the biggest retail stores in the state.

The location, near First Avenue and Denny Way, is near Seattle Center, something that isn’t lost on Kemp.

“I hope the Sonics come back here,” Kemp said to the assembled media during the grand opening, noting that Climate Pledge Arena (home of the new NHL franchise Seattle Kraken) is being refurbished and could one day host another NBA team. “We’re going to be right down the street. That makes me smile,” Kemp added.

Shortly after those remarks, The Glove made his entrance, embracing Kemp and spending a few moments talking with his former teammate as they walked around the store. The two are still clearly close friends.

“I came out here to support my boy,” Payton said as he and Kemp cut the green ribbon officially opening the store. Over the next few weeks, Payton joined Kemp for several additional personal appearances to help promote the shop.

Kemp is returning the favor, stocking the high-end strain “Gary Payton Cookies,” an indica-heavy flower that Payton started marketing last year.

“Of course, I’m going to help my friend promote his product,” Kemp said.

Kemp’s new shop is just the start of what could be several stores in the Puget Sound area, said Ramsey Hamide, one of his partners in the endeavor. Hamide and others involved in Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis are also owners of Main Street Marijuana in Vancouver, the state’s top-selling cannabis retailer.

“The branding we’re going to have with Shawn is going to be huge,” said Hamide, noting that Main Street Marijuana’s retail know-how would help make the Kemp partnership a success.

“We are going to have the best selection and lowest prices, hands-down,” Hamide said. And coming soon, Hamide said, is a new product specific to the store.

“He’s going to have his own Reign Man strain,” Hamide said.

During his opening remarks, Kemp said his cannabis store can offer a needed service for the community by promoting responsible medical and recreational use. He’s proud that his store is offering good wages to people of all ethnic backgrounds.

“If you go into any of these pot shops around town, you very rarely see any of us Blacks working in those shops,” he said. “You come to my shop and you’ll see a mixed ratio of people.”

At the time of opening, Kemp’s name was not officially listed on the retail shop’s initial business license. According to state regulators, the current owners are adding his name to the store’s ownership and will be a small-percentage owner when the paperwork is processed.

On the shelves, you’ll see a variety of Western Washington producers, and a few notable products from the eastside. Spokane’s Phat Panda, grown by GrowOp Farms, for instance, is well represented.

If you check out Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis, located at 3035 1st Ave., don’t miss the building’s 30-by-80-foot mural, painted by artist Jeff Jacobson (known as Weirdo), featuring Kemp, Payton and even Michael Jordan, back in their prime.

John Nelson is a longtime journalist, having worked at major news operations in Spokane, Memphis and Seattle. He now works as a freelance journalist, writing about outdoors recreation, marijuana and recreational vehicles.
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