Showboat Casino Cancels New Jersey Cannabis Festival Due to Complaints from Customers and City Officials

With little notice, Showboat Atlantic City canceled the New Jersey Cannabis Festival, which was scheduled for this weekend.

The cancellation of the New Jersey Cannabis Festival, scheduled for August 21-22 at the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City, had nothing to do with Covid. It's because of cannabis.

"I regret to inform you, we must cancel the festival," hotel manager Steve Sharkey wrote to festival producer Jeff Zick on August 16 (see the letter below). "As you know, the Showboat has been promoting itself this summer as a family friendly resort offering non-gaming amenities...

"The Cannabis Festival does not match that image. We've received numerous complaints from families that are booked to stay with us that weekend as well as from several city officials. Following these complaints and complaints from our current partners at Showboat, we've decided to cancel the Zick Productions event."

Letter sent from Showboat Atlantic City to Zick Productions.

The festival commented at Facebook: "The Showboat has sent its message to the cannabis culture by breaking contract for the New Jersey Cannabis Festival citing pressure from AC officials and it's perceived family friendly image. We shall not support establishments that discriminate against our people nor would we subject our patrons to this treatment. We will find the right location for a new event coming soon."

NORML executive director Erik Altieri quipped with this commented: "Guess they stopped alcohol service too then."

Festival organizer Jeff Zick: "It's not OK to treat cannabis consumers and patients this way. It's not good business to be in the anti-cannabis business."

Asked if he intends to sue the Showboat, Zick tells CelebStoner: "We're counting the damages from this abrupt breach of contract. We will be filing a lawsuit as soon as possible. It's not OK to treat cannabis consumers and patients this way. It's not good business to be in the anti-cannabis business."

Showboat Atlantic City was purchased for $23 million by Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein in 2016.

RELATED: 2021 Cannabis-Industry Events Guide 

Zick Productions runs the popular biannual Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival in Kutztown. This was their first attempt to produce a cannabis event in New Jersey, which passed legalization in February after voters approved a ballot initiative last November.

All tickets purchased for the NJ Cannabis Festival via Eventbrite have been refunded.


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.