Kent's ShoWare Center loses marijuana trade show to larger Everett arena

Organizers of a marijuana trade show contacted Kent
Organizers of a marijuana trade show contacted Kent's ShoWare Center as a potential site for the event but chose the Comcast Arena at Everett instead.
— image credit: Kent Reporter, file photo

Kent's city-owned ShoWare Center lost out on a potential marijuana trade show to the Comcast Arena at Everett because it's "not big enough," arena officials say.

The High Times Cannabis Cup Sept. 6-7 in Everett is projected to generate an economic impact of $2.3 million to the Snohomish County area, according to an Everett arena media release. The Kent and Everett arenas often compete against each other for shows, concerts and other events.

"I did get a call," said Tim Higgins, ShoWare Center general manager, when asked if the arena had tried to get the trade show. "We are not big enough. The event needs a trade show floor along with the concert venue. Comcast has the convention space and hall needed for the significant number of vendor booths."

The ShoWare Center continues to seek more concerts, trade shows and other events in an effort to reduce annual financial losses. The arena has lost more than $2.5 million since it opened in 2009. The city of Kent sets aside $500,000 each year in its budget to cover the losses.

The two-day trade show celebrates the cannabis culture and serves as an informational gathering for vendors as well as medical marijuana patients. Booths will range from clothing to grow equipment to glasswork and artwork.

The show drew nearly 10,000 attendees when held in Seattle. Seminars offered include legislation regulations, political issues, marijuana grows and a cooking class.

No selling or distribution of cannabis, another name for marijuana, is allowed at the show. But an outdoor private smoking area will be available for people ages 21 and older.

The Wailers, a reggae band that started in 1969 in Jamaica as Bob Marley and the Wailers, will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6. Bob Marley died in 1981 but other members of the group have kept the band going.

Cannabis Cup is produced by High Times Magazine and assisted in Everett by Bold Hat Productions, which also produces the Fremont Fair in Seattle, Kirkland Uncorked, Fremont Oktoberfest and the Hop Scotch Spring Beer and Scotch Festival in Fremont.

Tickets for Cannabis Cup cost $120 for a two-day VIP pass or $60 for Saturday and $50 for Sunday.

A Cannabis Cup in Denver drew more than 40,000 people. Like Washington, Colorado also allows the use, sale and production of recreational marijuana. Organizers started the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam but has expanded to the United States, including upcoming shows in Los Angeles and San Franciso.

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