Rainier Beach businesses looking to rebrand 'medical marijuana' image

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by NATALIE SWABY / KING 5 News

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KING5.com

Posted on March 15, 2013 at 7:52 PM

Updated Saturday, Mar 16 at 12:40 PM

SEATTLE -- The Rainier Beach Merchant's Association say it is working to rebrand Rainier Beach in order to attract more businesses that better reflect the community's needs.

Patrice Thomas works for the merchant's association and said a key concern is the number of medical marijuana providers in the neighborhood. 

"From Genesee all the way to 57th here on Rainier Avenue, I noticed about 11 dispensaries pop up during the summer time," said Thomas. 

Maia Segura is the co-owner of a marketing company called Penniless Projects, and she is working with Thomas to attract new businesses. She said near the intersection of 57th and Rainier Avenue there are three separate locations where patients can get medical marijuana. 

"It is kind of crushing when we see another one come in when we are hoping it will maybe be a gift shop or something we can use," said Segura.  

Area merchants have brainstormed with police on ways to diversify the business district. Lt. John Hayes with Seattle Police said officers have been working closely with the community. It has helped reduce crime in the area, and now the focus is remolding Rainier Valley's image.

"We need to do what other parts of the city have done. We need to recruit people. We need to let them know this is a great place," said Lt. Hayes.

Mulugeta Haile, the manager at Tree House Collective, understands the concerns, but points out his business follows the rules and is a good neighbor on a street where there are plenty of 'for lease' signs.

"Medical marijuana pays $1400, $1500 for rent. That helps out for the person that owns a property instead of him having no one to rent it out," said Haile.

"We don't have a problem with the dispensaries. It is just the critical mass of them in these small areas," said Segura.

The merchants association said a grassroots effort is underway to slow what seems like a rush of green to Rainier Valley and bring more variety. 

 

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