While the sativa haze will rise heavily at Seattle’s Hempfest next August, the state’s marijuana industry will gather smokelessly at the Tacoma Dome for four days of “CannaCon.”
As in Cannabis and Convention.
The organizer, Bob Smart of Edmonds, wants people to think of it as more of a home-and-garden show than a public smoke-out.
“I have done home-and-garden shows around the nation, and after going to Hempfest and the Cannabis Cup, I wasn’t overly impressed. I felt I could do a better job.”
A different job.
“There’s no smoking at the event,” Smart said. “There will be no marijuana products for sale.”
The event will begin on Thursday, Aug. 14, and run through the following Sunday.
That first day will be given to some 60 seminars, Smart said, on subjects including “best practices for watering, temperature and humidity control, how to read your plants, how to identify different molds, best practices for cloning, taxes.”
Friday through Sunday will belong to the general public, with the opportunity to visit a trade show featuring, Smart said, “over 500 exhibitors.”
These will include, he said, professionals involved in healthcare, the law, tourism and various products related to the marijuana industry.
“We will have all of the latest contraptions to ingest smoke, all the pipes and vaporizers and every gadget out there,” Smart said.
Add “trimmers, closed-loop extraction equipment, lighting, soil, nutrients, electricians. We’ll have a whole section about hemp, from biofuels to paper, makeup, all the things that can be made out of hemp.”
Along with that, visitors can watch, he said, “the largest glassblowing competition in the nation, with over 40 glassblowers.”
It will be, Smart boasts, “the largest business and consumer cannabis exposition in the nation. It seems to me with an emerging industry like we have that it needs to be something different from a bunch of people getting together and smoking. It has to be more professional.”
He continued, “There’s a better way to put on a show. If the public keeps seeing this as one big smokefest, I don’t see the industry moving forward. People are going to look at it as a bunch of potheads. We’ll change the perception of how people see it.”
For those who attend the Tacoma event but want to visit Seattle’s Hempfest – slated for Aug. 15-17 – Smart said luxury motor coaches will offer a free shuttle service between the two cities. Service will also be available to music festival, MMJ Universe, scheduled for a farm in Black Diamond.
Smart first intended to sponsor CannaCon in Seattle, but found that appropriate venues were either already booked or unwilling to align with a marijuana-related event.
“I want to thank the City of Tacoma for all of their support,” Smart said. “They have been extremely supportive.”
Kim Bedier, facilities director for the city, said Thursday that “nobody could think of a reason why we shouldn’t do this. Right from the beginning, we are treating this like we would any business dealing. One day they’re doing business-to-business, the other three days are a consumer show. People can come and talk about specialized gardening. It’s not like Hempfest. There will be no smoking. There’s no product on site, no brownies, no cannabis. We’re treating it like any other client.”
And there’s one more thing, Bedier said.
“It’s interesting to work on something new.”