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Cannabis culture and industry fire it up for Super Bowl LVII

David DownsPublished on February 7, 2023

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Millions of America’s football fans will pair their favorite pastime with more legal cannabis than ever before.

Super Bowl LVII in the mature legalization state of Arizona promises one of the biggest bumps in sales of the year. The stoke is even bigger in freshly legal Kansas City. Medically legal Philadelphia, San Francisco smokers, and friends across the US will also burn one for the game Sunday afternoon.

The lines at Phoenix and Kansas City dispensaries have already begun, owners report.

More than 99 million people watched the 2022 Super Bowl, and up to 600,000 people descend on the Phoenix valley this week. The line of planes waiting to land has begun stretching for miles, said Demitri Downing, co-founder of the major trade association MITA-AZ. This year offers the highest visibility ever for the ascendant legal cannabis movement.

“The town is going to be packed,” Downing said. “This is our biggest event of the year.”

Fans love to pair cannabis with the Big Game: Weed’s common effects of euphoria, hunger, and relaxation can enhance the experience of watching sports. The data company Springbig anticipates sales to jump up to 24% over the daily average in February. Savvy sellers tell Leafly they have hit 5,000% average sales with bargain ounces, vapes, and edibles delivered minutes after mobile ordering.

“We’ve seen a massive, massive bump,” said Jeff Dillon, head of marketing for Smoakland weed delivery in Northern California. “Cannabis and football go together like chips and dip.”

The Phoenix metropolitan area is set to host hundreds of thousands of people for Super Bowl LVII weekend, beginning now through the game on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 3:30 p.m. PST. Arizona began adult-use sales in January 2021, and more than 100 dispensaries are open.

“There’s a bunch of events going on. It’s going to be a crazy week,” said Downing for MITA-AZ.

The rapper Redman headlines the Mint Mall at Consumption Park, promoted by one of the closest dispensaries to the stadium, The Mint. Trulieve hosts the Cannablitz tailgate party as well. Ricky Williams hosts the 4th and 20 party over three days.

Two miles from State Farm Stadium, Sonoran Roots CEO Michael O’Brien expects his store Ponderosa to sell at least 10% more products than it does during a normal day. Then, Sonoran Roots will host a party downtown.

“We’ve been getting a lot of calls from people out of town,” he said. “It’s the best time of year for us.”

He planned for brisk business in flower varieties like Sonoran Roots premium Kush Mints, Cherry Cosmo, and Lemon Cane. Canamo concentrates and Lost Farm edibles from Kiva sell well to novices.

“They’re looking at more vapes and edibles. They’re looking to be discreet.”

Arizona’s mature legal cannabis market includes online ordering. A third of orders this week will come in from mobile phones and computers, O’Brien said.

The trade association Co-Founder Demitri Downing wants to showcase the responsible, health and wellness facet of cannabis.

The run-up to the game includes a no-alcohol golf tournament and a yoga event with former NFL players.

“We don’t want to see the equivalent of a booze-drenched party in cannabis,” Downing said. “Our industry is right in the middle of deciding its image—we advocate individual excellence, responsible behavior, and responsible messaging.”

“Cannabis is one of god’s best remedies that ever existed,” he said.

Missouri and Pennsylvania riding high

Missourans ride high with Kansas City in the NFL finals and legalization blowing through the former Confederate state. Up to 100,000 marijuana record expungements may result from the freshly enacted law.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ place in the NFL Finals only compounds crowds at Missouri dispensaries, which flipped from medical to adult-use with the stroke of a keyboard last week.

Some stores have seen 7 times the average daily sales, said Laurie Gregory, chief marketing officer for Good Day Farm. “It’s been a fantastic weekend. The Show Me State showed up.”

Shoppers will snap up pre-rolls priced at one penny this weekend and “Game Day Gummies.” The southern dessert King Cake is now a THC-infused gummy flavor.

Gregory said Good Day Farm’s best-selling flower right now in Missouri is the comically named Titty Sprinkles. The strain’s breeder lost a mom to breast cancer, said Gregory. Proceeds from the products go to breast cancer research. Patients use it for pain and inflammation.

“It’s just a fan favorite. They laugh at the name. They chuckle again. It’s cannabis, it’s fun—part of having fun is feeling good,” said Gregory.

All-in-one vape pens from Go Pens do well with flavors Grape Soda, Wild Watermelon, and Strawberries and Cream.

Good Day Farm’s Kansas City dispensary hosts food, music, and fun. It’s an incredibly proud moment for Missouri, she said.

“We anticipate very strong sales,” she said. “The weed here is amazing.”

Over at Greenlight’s dispensary in Kansas City—kiosks, a walk-up window, and a drive-through will promptly provide folks with edibles, vapes, and their custom K.C. Kush. Greenlight. Greenlight CEO John Mueller said a couple of stores sold 9 times their average amounts last weekend. Missouri now entices Illinoisans across the border with lower taxes, more cultivars, and better strains, he said.

Greenlight also hosts three bonafide, legal farmer’s markets this weekend called Underground. Missouri farmers go direct to consumers in a secret room in the dispensary—featuring blowout deals and new releases.

“It’s going to be a very crazy weekend. It would have been crazy with the Super Bowl alone.”

“Online order ahead to walk or drive up, and save yourself time,” he said.

A proud Chiefs fan, Mueller holds Chiefs season tickets. His family has been dressing in red all week, and he will attend the game in Phoenix.

“It’s a great time,” he said. “It’s kind of our thing here, being the local company we are.”

Reggie Harris, CEO of House of Kush, Kansas City, MO brand cannabis went from pro football to cannabis. He used to be the General Manager of the Kansas City Brigade, an Arena Football League team. Now, his minority-owned business has fresh strains on shelves in Missouri in time for the game and is sponsoring Consumption Park.

“Interest in the brand has picked up,” he said. “There is huge value in getting in front of consumers.”

Pennsylvania pride

The medical cannabis state of Pennsylvania celebrates the Philadelphia Eagles in the finals this weekend. Roughly 165 stores will likely run deals and promotions there as well.

The nine Ethos dispensary locations run bundle deals on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Philly and Pennsylvania in general is juiced for the Eagles to win the Super Bowl. Ethos has begun planning for the downtown parade next week.

“Our patients are super-excited and ready for the Eagles to win the Super Bowl,” said Ethos Vice-President of Retail Operations and Supply Gibran Washington. “We’re going to have a parade in Philly next week. We’re betting on the parade.”

And back in San Francisco, fans lick their wounds and toast to an unexpected run after the 49ers’ defeat by the Eagles. Stores and delivery services have already hit big with the NFL season so far.

Smoakland cannabis delivery service marketing director Jeff Dillon reports 5 times the average daily sales near the 49ers’ stadium and party hot spots. Fans place mobile phone orders and receive a drop from a van in minutes near the park. Smoakland ran specials like the Brock Star and Zkittlez ounces for $88. The best seller is a $49 flower ounce touted at tailgate parties in the stadium parking lot.

All-in-one house brand vapes called Faders sell well.

“Business has been fantastic,” he said. “Especially because it falls on Valentine’s Day—you got a little bit for him, a little bit for her. For us, it’s a big holiday.”

“You would expect it to slow down. We get very heavy sales all the way through the game.” Smoakland cannabis delivery service marketing director Jeff Dillon

Sales stay heavy through the game, Dillon said.

“You would expect it to slow down. We get very heavy sales all the way through the game.”


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