Washington State recreational cannabis has been around for well over a year now. The industry has brought in over 192 million dollars in tax revenue since becoming legal in 2014. Recreational cannabis has been met with both warm bong rips and picket signs protesting the devils sweet leaf. A good portion of protesters aren’t even upset with weed being sold legally. Some are simply upset about the locations of facilities and others are calling this the epitome of gentrification.
On the same street corners where individuals have been put behind bars for peddling small amounts of chronic, we are now seeing business men and women make hundreds of thousands of dollars each month, legally. This ironic situation has played a big part into the topic of gentrification, particularly in our home city of Seattle.
The main target of recent protest has been Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop.
Uncle Ike’s recreational cannabis store has become the poster child for the unrest for numerous reasons. The store is located in the heart of the Central District, a historic African American neighborhood in the city of Seattle. The district has received a major face lift over the past decade from primarily white investors. Black owned businesses and residents have been pushed out and displaced with increasing rent and now we have a legal pot store in the same area where individuals of color have been prosecuted for the same ‘crime’.
This may seem like simple business but if you don’t see the irony, I don’t know what to tell you!
The physical location of Uncle Ike’s is another reason protesters are heated up as it is located right next to a church and across the street from a children’s center. Needless to say, a lot of residents are not happy.
Draze gives you a visual of why he is upset with the local cannabis store’s location.
Today we want to highlight two Seattle emcees who have separately spoke out about the issue. Draze addresses the topic in his aptly titled song ‘Irony on 23rd’ where he poetically discusses his beef with having a weed store so close to his home church and children center. Over a beautiful soulful organ and saxophone backdrop, Draze expresses his issues with the store’s location.
Seattle based producer/emcee Spekulation also released his thoughts on this topic in his track ‘Uncle Ike.’ As the first single off his debut full length album, Nine to Fives & Afterlives, he also examines the gentrification issue brought to the table with Uncle Ike’s pot shop and our nation’s corrupt drug laws.
While questioning who truly benefits from recreational cannabis, Spek also brings up another great issue with legalization. The same demographic that benefited from the war on drugs now benefits from legal cannabis, meanwhile the same population is dealing with the short end of the stick.