Business-to-business marijuana convention expected to attract more than 7,000 people to Tacoma Dome next week

Don’t go looking to smoke when Cannacon comes to Tacoma next week.

That’s “canna” as in cannabis and “con” as in convention, and it’s coming to the Tacoma Dome next Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 14-17.

Bob Smart, president and CEO of the sponsoring organization, said this week that it will be the largest business-to-business gathering of cannabis entrepreneurs in the country. He said he expects at least 7,000 people to attend.

The only thing missing will be cannabis.

“There will be no smoking, no music, no activism,” Smart said.

Instead, there will be business.

Smart said 150 vendors have so far reserved 190 booth spaces. They will be selling and promoting products and services concerning the propagation, packaging and sale of cannabis products.

He began recalling a list: “soil, lighting, nutrients, tourism, lawyers, consultants, heavy machinery for processing, glass, insurance, venture capitalists … they’ll be coming from San Diego, Las Vegas, Denver, San Francisco, probably Florida.”

Admission will be limited to registered attendees the first two days, and the public will be welcome to attend on Saturday and Sunday.

Along with the trade show, the convention will feature a series of seminars with titles ranging from banking and branding to taxes and testing, along with source forecasting, capital management, advertising, security, advanced pruning techniques, customer service and several others.

After Tacoma, Smart said he will organize Cannacon gatherings in other cities and states.

Among the features of the first-time convention, industry leaders will host a series of seminars aimed at “budtenders,” who are the cannabinoid equivalent of bartenders. The seven-seminar course will conclude with the presentation of certifications to those who complete their studies.

There will be a charge for the public to attend, but applicants for licenses under Initiative 502 and business owners will be admitted free, Smart said.

“This is basically … think of it as a home-and-garden show, but everything is about cannabis,” he said.