Christian Youth Theater Pushed Out By Legal Marijuana Business

By McCarton Ackerman 05/28/14

Despite being pushed out by legal pot growers, the theater's operators took the sudden change in stride.


The Christian Youth Theater in Spokane Valley, Wash., is being shepherded out and replaced with a marijuana business, raising debate within the larger community.

The youth theater has been operating out of a converted warehouse for the last seven years and put on a production this past weekend called Beauty and the Beast Jr., However, potential marijuana growers are about to set up shop in the same complex. Because Washington law requires pot growers to operate at least 1,000 feet from a school or other places where children congregate, the theater now has to move.

"It was funny and scary all at the same time, because you're thinking youth theater and marijuana," said Kristine Lyons with the Christian Youth Theater. “You just never think it affects you, so it was one of those types of surprises. What we're looking for is a new place to call home, and hopefully home for a very long time.”

The property owner said they had worked with the theater for seven years to offer reduced rent, but had no choice in offering up the space to a business willing to pay top dollar for the 32,000 square foot facility. The Christian Youth Theater will be required to move by June 30, but several landlords have already contacted them about setting up shop in one of their spaces. And despite the abrupt move, those associated with the theater seem to be taking it in stride.

"My 14-year-old was a little confused just why a children's theater company would be displaced,” said CYT parent Amy Kells. “But on the other hand, change and growth is a great thing for her to be able to understand and grow.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.