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Public Party Planned for One-Year Anniversary of Legal Pot

Monica Spain
Ben Livingston looks over the venue for the public party at the Seattle Center.

It happens. People smoke marijuana at the Seattle Center. You’ve seen it or smelled it, but it’s never been—and still isn’t—legal.  

This Friday, there will be an exception. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of pot legalization, the city is allowing a pot party on Seattle Center grounds

Planning a Pot Party

For a guy who’s expecting 500 guests, on Friday afternoon, pot activist Ben Livingston seems pretty relaxed as he surveys the dead space between the monorail station and the EMP. He calls it a blank canvas that will transform into a pot party in a tent.

Livingston says it wasn’t a shoe-in to get the city excited about a private anniversary celebration to which the public, aged 21 and older, is invited. But he says Seattle Center was his first choice because of what happened when Initiative 502 passed last year.   

“Potheads gathered under the Space Needle and celebrated by smoking weed openly. And I thought, ‘I’m not sure that’s the best image to say, OK, we’ve now legalized pot and let’s go have a giant public smoke-out as the way to celebrate.’

“And so what I perceived as a harm, I offered to reduce that harm by essentially just putting up privacy fencing around it,” said Livingston.

A Fence to Contain the Haze

So will a chain-link fence prevent a contact high for passersby? Livingston thinks so. The privacy fence is comprised of double layers (the contract actually calls for a “moat” between two fences), and a total of 20 feet will buffer the tented smokers from the public. 

The speaker line-up includes Seattle City Council members, columnist Dan Savage, and, possibly, members of the Seattle Police Department. 

For his part, Livingston’s only worry is over the possibility of a crowd of tokers forming outside the tent. But he does have a plan to dissuade loitering outside the tent, and it might keep Seattle Center officials happy.

“So I’m going to try to create some materials that encourage people to go check out other parts of the Seattle Center. There’s ice skating, there’s food, there’s all kinds of interesting things to do and see here. So I’m trying to encourage people to kind of flow through and use it as a launch pad, so to speak, for their entertaining evening,” he said.


Livingston says that could make for a mellow evening of mingling. Oh, one other reminder: since there are no retail cannabis sales until spring, it’s BYOB—that’s bring your own bud.