Pubdate: Fri, 11 Mar 2016
Source: Herald, The (Everett, WA)
Copyright: 2016 The Daily Herald Co.
Author: Amy Nile


MONROE - Pot smokers won't get to prove they're no couch potatoes, at 
least not for now. A 5K run aimed at having those involved in 
marijuana businesses, users and people who don't partake, huffing 
along together Saturday has been called off.

The Farewell to Prohibition 5K at the Evergreen Speedway was to 
include live music and information booths about the pot industry as 
part of the after-race festivities.

Former beauty-pageant queen Crystal Newton, of Monroe, said she spent 
thousands of dollars and many hours putting together the festival. 
But her efforts went up in smoke Wednesday.

Doug Hobbs, who runs the Evergreen Speedway under a 25-year contract 
with Snohomish County, shut down the event. He said he feared it 
could get out of hand after talking with the Washington State Liquor 
and Cannabis Board.

"The worry is this will turn into a smokeout or a drugfest," Hobbs 
said. He wasn't willing to take on the responsibility and risk when 
people's choices are so often beyond of his control.

Liquor and Cannabis agents warned Hobbs that the venue could be 
ticketed for marijuana use at or around the speedway, which is part 
of the county-owned 200-acre Evergreen State Fairgrounds.

Liquor-license holders are expected to take steps to prevent pot use 
at public events.

"You're not going to stop everybody," said Tom Dixon, the region's 
top official with the Liquor and Cannabis Board. "We only expect them 
to be reasonable."

A pot violation is a ticket against the venue's liquor license. 
Usually the first offense results in a five-day license suspension or 
a $500 fine, Dixon said. Four tickets during a two-year period can 
result in the loss of a liquor license.

Liquor and Cannabis agents told Hobbs about violations given to other 
liquor-license holders for public pot smoking at other events.

They cited examples in Everett, such as the Cannabis Cup in 2014 and 
the Dope Music Festival, featuring rapper Lil Wayne, in 2015.

"We don't want to discourage these types of events," Dixon said. "But 
it's important there's adequate staff to address risks."

Hobbs had six off-duty deputies with the Snohomish County Sheriff's 
Office and 15 speedway security workers lined up to work Saturday. 
While he could have called in more security, he decided there were 
too many unknowns for him to feel comfortable moving forward.

Newton, 30, said her intention was to build bridges between marijuana 
supporters and opponents. A race is "socially acceptable" to 
everyone, she said.

"This county, especially, needs to get to know these business owners 
so they can stop freaking out about them," she said.

Newton said wanted to get rid of the stereotype of marijuana users as 
lazy slackers by showing that people who use pot can be healthy and 
enjoy running just like anyone else. She never intended to put on a 
Hempfest-like event or to have people using pot at the speedway. That 
wasn't the point.

"The public thinks everyone who uses marijuana is a stoner," she 
said. "They're people - just like you and me."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom