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Weed Consumption District Along Missouri River Coming to Kansas City Suburb

A new entertainment district is being built just days after Amendment 3 was approved by Missouri voters to allow adult-use cannabis. Gladstone, Missouri-based Besa Hospitality Group announced on Nov. 9 a new “cannabis entertainment district” to open along the Missouri River, serving people who live in the Kansas City metro area. 

Multimillion-dollar project to be named the Smokey River Entertainment District. You can count down to April 20, 2023 on the website.

“We have an opportunity to showcase cannabis and the acceptance of cannabis in our everyday lives. We’re normalizing cannabis through hospitality,” Joey Pintozzi, Vice President of Operations and Marketing told CBS affiliate KC TV 5. “This is an entertainment venue first and foremost. Cannabis will be a part and parcel of the entertainment experience. People will be free to legally consume in some of the venues and enjoy being themselves.”

Fox 4 reports that Pintozzi joined entrepreneur Jack Mitchell, and both are already involved in Missouri’s medical cannabis industry. To get the process started, developers expect that the initial phase will cost between $30-50 million. The cost of future development could be much more.

This concept includes an amphitheater and two indoor entertainment venues that can accommodate 500-2,000 people. It also features festival grounds and food and drink concepts.

Smokey River Entertainment is just 20 minutes away in Kansas City’s village of River Bend. According to developers, the multi-use area will create thousands of new jobs in the community and house some top artists from comedy and music.

It is part of a collaboration with BesaMe Wellness (a state-run medical cannabis dispensary).  With 53% supporting regulation of adult-use marijuana, the voters in the state approved Amendment 3.

“This is an incredible opportunity for ALL communities,” said Jack Mitchell, CEO of the Besa Group of Companies. “More than amphitheater and entertainment venues, this facility will help us develop the region’s music, hospitality, cannabis and culture economies together.”

This project will unfold in two stages: First, the festival grounds will open in 2023. The second phase will consist of food and beverage options, live music venues, and the 1,500-seat venue.

The Smokey River Amphitheatre, which has a capacity of 14,000 persons, will become the second phase.

“Welcome to the Smokey River Entertainment District,” the website reads. “A first of its kind in the nation multi-use development where you have the freedom to be yourself. You can find us just 20 minutes away from Kansas City on the banks of Missouri’s mighty Missouri river. We welcome you to visit and see what the future holds for night life and entertainment. From private events, concerts, dining, leisure, and one of a kind experiences – we’re hosting it all. Be on the lookout for upcoming events and announcements, and don’t forget to follow us on social media as well as join our mailing list for the latest information. Double-check your maps and grab your paddle. We’ll see you downstream.

West Hollywood is home to similar efforts. There are legal cannabis lounges. The geographically small city plans to rebrand itself as a cannabis mecca, or as “Emerald Village”—a name coined by a cannabis trade group of the same name.