This year’s Super Bowl seems to be perfect for the marketing of marijuana, and pot entrepreneurs and activists are seizing the moment.
Fans of the Seattle Seahawks, and team running back Marshawn Lynch in particular, may very well set out a bowl of Skittles for their Super Bowl parties this Sunday. Lynch’s love of Skittles has gotten extra attention in recent weeks as his team advanced through the playoffs, and after giving the brand millions in free publicity, Skittles officially partnered with Lynch in an endorsement deal featuring a limited-edition “Seattle Mix” strain of the candies with only the team colors, blue and green.
Others may pay homage to Lynch in a very different way: by smoking a strain of marijuana named in his honor. As the Seattle Times reported, the strain in question was grown with the idea that it would be called “Girl Scout Cookie.” After sampling the freshly cultivated crop, however, growers—who run the Queen Anne Cannabis Club in Seattle—realized the cute name didn’t fit at all. After starting slow, the effects of smoking it kicked into a higher gear and came on exceptionally strong. “It hit me like Beast Mode,” one of the growers said. He was referring to the nickname of Marshawn Lynch, one of the league’s most powerful, fearsome running backs, and he unintentionally gave the strain a new name that would stick.
(MORE: Why ATMs in Legal Pot Shops Have Authorities So Worried)
The idea of naming pot after an NFL player may seem odd—the league bans players from using marijuana, even in states where it’s legal—but if ever there was a time it might be appropriate, it would be this year’s Super Bowl. As many have noted, the two teams playing in this weekend’s game are both from states where voters have approved sales of pot for purely recreational purposes, hence countless references to the “Stoner Bowl” or “Bud Bowl.”
In addition to Lynch-themed “Beast Mode” pot, the Queen Anne Cannabis Club has been selling (or rather, requesting specific donation rates because selling pot there technically remains illegal) tons of marijuana-laced cupcakes featuring the Seahawks blue-and-green colors. In Colorado, meanwhile, according to Reuters, pot shops are offering blue-and-orange Denver Broncos-themed bongs and strains of marijuana with Broncos-related names such as “Orange Crush.” Last fall, a Denver pot seller introduced strains of pot named after Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning along with his brother, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, but after being threatened with legal action, it appears as if there’s no more Manning weed for sale.
Beyond individual sellers, the larger pro-cannabis movement is also trying to seize the “Marijuana Bowl” spotlight by putting up five billboards in support of the legalization of pot on highways near New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, where the game’s being played. “Marijuana is less harmful to our bodies than alcohol,” reads one of the billboards from the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), showing football players in jerseys featuring the same colors as the Broncos and Seahawks (though they’re not official jerseys, because the NFL certainly isn’t on board with the message). “Why does the league punish us for making the safer choice?”
(MORE: 6 Products and Brands Psyched the Seahawks and Broncos Are in the Super Bowl)
Another billboard notes that there were 749,000 marijuana arrests in the U.S. in 2012, which is roughly the equivalent of the number of people who have attended the last ten Super Bowls combined. In a press release accompanying the launch of the billboards, MPP director of communications Mason Tver offered the put-that-in-your-pipe-and-smoke-it quote, “Taking a big hit of marijuana poses less potential harm than taking a big hit from an NFL linebacker or a big shot of tequila.”