by: Graham Johnson Updated:SEATTLE —
Plans for a big pot party at Seattle Center have triggered new complaints from substance abuse advocates and even the chief of adolescent medicine at Seattle Children's Hospital.
On Monday they sent a letter to the Seattle Center director claiming that a party permitted for the Center Dec. 6 is illegal under state law.
Ben Livingston of the Center for Legal Cannabis got permission from the city to stage a party on the first anniversary of Initiative 502 taking effect.The initiative legalized the adult use of recreational marijuana.
"I'm an expectant father and I take a slight issue with the attempt to paint a picture that cannabis users are somehow anti-family," Livingston said.
"It is my intent to follow the contract to the letter, to dot every 'i,' to cross every 't'," Livingston told KIRO 7 last week.
Initiative 502 does not allow marijuana to be smoked in public view.
So the city contract stipulates the outdoor smoking area be surrounded by a fence 6 feet high, covered with fabric so people can't see through it.
A second fence is required 8 feet outside the first one, creating a "moat" in between.
Seattle Children's pediatrician Dr. Michelle Terry is among the nine people who signed the letter, which called the event a violation of state law.
"As a pediatrician and as a mom I'm concerned there's going to be an event at Seattle Center that's open to the public that's going to be around an area where a lot of kids congregate," Terry said.
Initiative 502 prevents marijuana businesses from being within 1,000 feet of schools and day cares.
The letter says although the party is not technically a business, it will be within 200 feet of The Center School, and will be happening at a time when Seattle Center draws families for Winterfest.
"This is a public event where there are a lot of children present, so I think it is contradictory to the spirit of the law," Terry said.
Livingston said the event is technically private, and adults 21 and over will need to show ID to be admitted.
Livingston also said the event will be in a less traveled part of the Seattle Center, north of the Space Needle.
It is a few hundred feet from the EMP Museum, the Armory and a well-used walking path.
“This is one of the few spots at the Seattle Center where it’s kind of a no man’s land,” he said.
Officials at the City Attorney's Office declined immediate comment. Officials at Seattle Center referred calls to the City Attorney's Office.
Council members and the mayor were also unavailable for immediate comment.