When the Denver Broncos face off against the Carolina Panthers in Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium this Sunday, it will be the first time a Super Bowl has occurred in a state with near-legal, readily available marijuana. True, California technically only allows for medicinal use, but the process of obtaining a medical cannabis card is laughably simple, taking only an hour at one of many convenient locations throughout nearby San Francisco, where many of the pre-game events are staged. For any of the projected 1 million football fans flocking to the Bay Area looking to get high, it’s game on.
And the city’s many marijuana dispensaries are ready to rake in the green.
There are already two custom strains being sold at medical dispensary the Bloom Room, where Carolina Cam Crush and Bronco Mile High are offered as premium, $20-a-gram options.
They’re playing to their respective audiences. According to the Bloom Room website, Bronco Mile High is a cross between the potent Pineapple Express and Dream Queen strains in which “the first aroma notes suggest an Aspen forested mountain-side with hints of pine and citrus, conjuring up a sunset in the Colorado Rockies.” And you’ll need to hail from Colorado’s legal weed culture to stand up to what they claim is a staggering 29.8% THC level in the buds, which “leaves the user with a feeling of well-being, comfort and knowledge that the battle and grind of life ultimately leads to victory.” If they can stay conscious, that is.
Conversely, Carolina Cam Crush, a mix of Chocolate Thai and Agent Orange, is only 17% psychoactive fairy dust, catering to the team’s home state’s relatively draconian marijuana laws and subsequent potential intolerance to the level of designer weed that comes with legal production. Still, it’s heralded as “a youthful dynamic strain that is visually a deep, intense green evidencing a vigor and an unapologetic aggressive ‘in your face’ style.”
In an effort to draw in fans, Bloom Room manager Stephen Rechif told Bloomberg the pot shop would be sending runners out into Super Bowl City, the fan village set up downtown, to pass out coupons good for a free joint and lighter. Meanwhile, just a half-block from the football fun zone epicenter, the Green Door dispensary will be holding a sale on premium strains and offering a smoking lounge with flat-screen TVs showing the game.
It’s not just the fans that’ll be indulging in California’s legendarily potent pot. The NFL has a longstanding history with weed, where experts claim as many as 60% of players puff on the regular.
“…Players today don’t believe in the stigma that older people associate with smoking it,” former Atlanta Falcon running back Jamal Anderson told Bleacher Report this month. “To the younger guys in the league now, smoking weed is a normal thing, like having a beer. Plus, they know that smoking it helps them with the concussions.”
It can also work as a post-game painkiller, a natural option to more insidious substances such as prescription narcotics.
“When you compare it to what the alternative is in their training rooms: pills, pills, pills, that are being put into these guys’ hands and turning them into addicts,” former Denver Broncos wide receiver turned medical marijuana advocate Nate Jackson told the Pain News Network. “I was never big on those pills. I medicated with marijuana and it helped me and I think it helped save my brain.”
The NFL does, of course, outlaw marijuana and other “street drugs.” But their tests are easy to beat, according to Jackson, who smoked throughout his six-year career.
“Because the street drug test is only once a year. It’s in May, June, or July, somewhere around there. Once you get it, then you’re good for the next year, as long as you don’t fail it.”
Jackson isn’t the only former pro footballer who’s also pro pot. Former Super Bowl winner and Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon credits the plant with helping alleviate the pain and suffering he endures after his 15-year career, which includes early onset dementia, headaches, memory loss, vision and speech issues, sleep loss, and a dependence on narcotics.
"This medical marijuana has been a godsend,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “It relieves me of the pain—or thinking about it, anyway."
Ironically, even though the NFL unequivocally bans ingesting cannabis, it doesn’t have any specific rules or testing on the books for synthetic marijuana, which is illegal in almost all 50 states. At least two players have had issues with faux-weed in the past few months. According to the Boston Globe, Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones sought medical help after using synthetic weed in early January of this year, and Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman was on it when he had a hit-and-run in October. Synthetic marijuana compounds such as K2 have led to psychotic breaks, suicide, and murder, and accounted for more than 5,000 poison control center visits last year.
In San Francisco this weekend, however, it’s safe to say that it will be all about real deal reefer. Levi’s Stadium forbids toking or being obviously stoned, but pot’s prevalence makes for relatively safe smoking in the city even without proper medical documentation. If you’re from out of town or relatively new to the stoner scene, SF Gate has this helpful guide to staying out of trouble.
Load up that super bowl with the appropriate team’s strain, grab some snacks, and get ready for Super Bowl Sunday.