SEATTLE — Six-time NBA all-star and Seattle Sonic legend Shawn Kemp is expanding his cannabis ventures with a new dispensary in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood.
The new location gives Kemp a presence on the north and south end of Seattle. The first cannabis store is located in Belltown and brands itself as a welcoming environment for “cannabis connoisseurs and those new to the green scene.”
Kemp’s new dispensary is in a former bank building and offers a wide variety of cannabis products in a Seattle-themed, 3,500-square-foot showroom.
A massive mural features Kemp, former Sonic teammate Gary Payton and Bruce Lee next to Jimi Hendrix.
“We really went big on this location and I can’t wait for fans to check it out,” says Kemp, who co-owns the dispensary with business partner and General Manager Tran Du.
“We’re going to have over 3,000 unique products — best selection in Seattle," Du said.
A major focus for the business is diversity in the staff and promoting from within.
Du says he started as a budtender, then worked security and many other roles as he climbed the ranks to partner with Kemp in the new location. The partnership also makes Kemp one of the few Black owners in our state.
KING 5 reported in 2022 that the vast majority of cannabis retailers in Washington state aren’t owned by people of color, and just 4% are Black-owned, according to 2021 data from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB).
Kemp says expanding and hiring more employees will be a boost for the reputation of the business and for people of color fighting for representation in the industry.
Kemp's dispensary will employ upwards of 20 people and they will host a ribbon cutting event with “Kemp and friends” on Saturday, Feb. 11 at noon.
“I love getting to see the fans and take pictures, so it’s a celebration Saturday,” Kemp said.
The Belltown grand opening featured guests like “The Glove” Gary Payton.
“Show up for special 50% off sales and maybe some celebrities,” Kemp said.
Shawn Kemp Cannabis Dispensary is located at 2764 First Avenue South near Starbucks Center.