Entertainment

Weed YouTubers Speak Out After Having Their Channels Deleted

weed-youtubers-speak-out-after-having-their-channels-deleted-hero-400x240.jpg

YouTube has been systematically shutting down marijuana-centric channels on its video-sharing site with little-to-no explanation since at least early 2018. Cannabis YouTubers—or WeedTubers—have been dealt channel strikes, suspensions, and restrictions on the same platform that seemingly used to embrace them. In addition to receiving little information about the purge, creators have been left confused by YouTube’s inconsistent enforcement of standards and policies concerning cannabis content.

“As soon as they decided to close all of our channels down, it’s just been radio silence for every single one of us,” said Josh Young, creator of the channel Strain Central.

Young had been a WeedTuber since 2014, even getting a tattoo of YouTube’s iconic red, “play” button logo on his wrist when he hit 100,000 subscribers about two years ago. He had cultivated a following of nearly 500,000 subscribers with educational cannabis content until his channel was shut down in late April. Young still sees the tattoo as a reminder of how he found both his passion and voice in his YouTube videos but is disappointed to see his channel disappear without a clear explanation.

“I think the weirdest part for me is that for a long time, I had been [regularly] in contact with YouTube,” he said. “I wasn’t doing a lot of the big consumption challenges or anything like that, so I felt like they were a little more open with me… It almost seems like once they made that decision, it was an executive decision for everyone.”

 

Preparing for the ‘Adpocalypse’

Setting the scene for the creation of YouTube’s vague content policies, the platform has undergone a wide variety of changes dating back to March of 2017, an era dubbed the ‘Adpocalypse.’

Huge brands including Pepsi, Walmart, and Verizon—in addition to institutions like the U.K. governmentpulled their ads after finding that their spots were featured alongside problematic videos touting political extremist views and hate speech. AT&T issued a statement: “Until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.”  A resounding message heard not only by employees at YouTube, but the creators who relied on the platform for their livelihood.

According to ArsTechnica, YouTube’s response was to place an age restriction on anything that might be objectionable, which demonetized those videos—essentially meaning they were not eligible for ads, and therefore, would generate no revenue for their creators. Brands were also allowed to opt out of advertising on videos based on broad criteria, including “tragedy and conflict” or “sensitive social issues.”

 

As over 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, scouring that content is a huge task—one predominantly carried out by algorithms. Though creators may submit appeals, the process can take several days to complete. This lag upset several creators, who began jumping ship to other platforms, such as Twitch, or soliciting donations via Patreon or PayPal to continue their channels.

The crackdown on content didn’t save YouTube from its next controversy. In December of 2017, YouTuber Logan Paul posted a video depicting a suicide victim in Japan’s Aokigahara forest. Though YouTube condemned the video, Paul, who has 17.5 million subscribers, was not permanently booted from the platform.

Yet the most shocking turn of events came on April 3, when a 38-year-old vlogger shot and wounded three people at YouTube’s San Bruno, CA headquarters before taking her own life. Her videos, whose videos were largely focused on fitness, veganism, and animal rights, had expressed frustration over YouTube’s policies, claiming that many of her videos were demonetized.

 

All of this sets the scene for what cannabis content creators claim is now happening with their channels, over a year from when this so-called “Adpocalypse” hit.

What’s Happening to Cannabis Channels?

WeedTubers’ channel restrictions and deletions seem to follow a similar pattern. First, content creators first receive a strike. According to YouTube’s guidelines, strikes can be issues for a variety of issues, including copyright violations; harmful, dangerous, or hateful content; scams, or “misleading metadata.” One strike can stop the channel from live streaming, while two within a three-month period prevents the posting of any new content for two weeks. Strikes are not permanent, can be appealed, and will expire in three months’ time. However, if a channel receives three strikes in three months, that account will be terminated. It’s this strike-to-deletion pathway that seems common among cannabis channels, regardless of the type of content posted.

Matthias Gast said he racked up three strikes on his channel, Matthias710WRX in February. He typically posted reviews of dabbing products and videos in which he took “massive dabs” for his some 100,000 subscribers.

“It was kind of like a Jackass of weed thing, just trying to make people laugh and show them that cannabis isn’t dangerous,” he said. “You can smoke a whole ton of it, and I’m still standing here just fine.”

The first strike was on one such CBD review, in which Gast took a half-gram dab and gave his thoughts on how he felt.

He admits the second video strike, which featured the inclusion of a psychedelic mushroom, made more sense to remove. Yet his third came minutes after posting a video about a trip to Hawaii containing footage of him taking dabs and smoking, and his account was terminated within the span of a week. Gast said he was sent a generic email which indicated he was not following the platform’s terms and conditions.

 

 

Similarly, Joel Hradecky’s channel boasting 1.5 million subscribers, CustomGrow420, was deleted earlier this year, only to have it reinstated on June 6 without notice. Like Gast, he said he received generic emails from YouTube without specific answers. In one such email, of which he posted a screenshot to his Instagram account, YouTube writes they do not allow content that “encourages or promotes violent or dangerous acts that have an inherent risk of serious physical harm or death.” Examples included drug abuse, bomb making, and underage drinking or smoking.

“They have lots of alcohol stuff on there” Hradecky pointed out. “It’s just weird because everybody could post [cannabis content] for a long time, and then all of a sudden, everything changed.”

Clark Campbell and Alice Addison, a Los Angeles-based couple who posted cannabis and lifestyle content to their channel, That High Couple, had their channel suspended in April. Campbell works as a digital community manager for a Multi-Channel Network, which means his day job is to work with influencers and content creators on growth strategies. In his experience operating under YouTube’s policies, he sees the rise in strikes and flags as the likely result of an algorithm, not a human monitor.

“Across the board, we’re seeing cannabis tags and cannabis-related titles and topics [being removed]; those are the ones that at least the algorithm, on its basic level, is picking up, flagging, and removing,” Campbell said.

 

Courtesy of That High Couple

The High Couple received their first strike on April 19 on a video explaining how to roll a joint, followed by a channel suspension. When their channel was reinstated, it came back with two strikes; the second strike was on a 360 tour of a dispensary in Vegas. The couple is now afraid to post any new content, for fear of a third and damning strike. So, they intend to move their cannabis content elsewhere and only post lifestyle and travel content to YouTube.

“It hasn’t been anything we, as content creators, have done differently, it’s just that the platform is changing this year,” Campbell said. “It’s a shame because it’s one of the biggest, most radical changes since I’ve started working with YouTubers, and it’s something that they’re just not communicating enough over what it is they’re flagging.”

While some cannabis YouTubers have had their presence wiped out with no clear path to return, Matt Lamb, who posts educational and how-to content to his Ruffhouse Studios channel, has had his channel reinstated, though not without much back and forth.

Lamb found YouTube supportive when he first started his channel in 2011. He enjoyed repeated invitations to YouTube’s space in Los Angeles, where he both produced content and used their equipment. Another time, said he was introduced to various brands like Chipotle and SweeTarts at a party; he was one of about 15 to 20 other creators and the only cannabis creator present at the time.

Yet about a year ago, he began experiencing demonetization, followed by the complete deletion of his channel. When he reached out to YouTube to ask why, he was told he was using spiders or bots that would artificially inflate view counts, generating fake traffic. Lamb denies this, and said YouTube provided no evidence of what he had supposedly done. On May 29, Lamb’s channel was reinstated and he was sent an email indicating the channel did not violate the platform’s policies. Browse his channel today, and you’ll find his over 400,000 subscribers and video content in tact. Lamb still, however, doesn’t know what went wrong in the first place.

Why the Purging of Cannabis Content?

Given the range of reasons provided in YouTube’s vague emails and the absence of personalized communication, many WeedTubers are left wondering why — and, especially, why now. High Times reached out to YouTube for a statement, and have not received a response at the time of this writing.

Without a clear answer, theories abound. One might argue that cannabis is a stigmatized drug that remains federally illegal, but it’s also considered a medicine in 29 states and legal in 9, as well as D.C. Although this would seem to go against the trend of YouTube not only allowing cannabis content, but seemingly encouraging it for quite some time with invites to film in the YouTube Space with studios and equipment or partner managers assigned to WeedTuber accounts prior to the wave of deletions.

Some hypothesize that YouTube is attempting to become more brand-friendly and more appealing to TV advertisers. Lamb notes that some bigger content creators who cover cannabis but already have ties to TV, like Snoop Dogg and VICE, have been permitted to stay on the site.

Others believe the platform is simply still trying to clean up its content after the Logan Paul outrage by bumping off smaller creators. While cannabis seems to be the common denominators among the WeedTubers we spoke with—whose subscriber counts and content styles vary—it’s not the only genre of channels that’s been experiencing strikes, suspensions, and deletions. Following the Parkland shooting, conspiracy theory and firearm channels began complaining of similar treatment. In 2017, LGBTQ creators found their videos were being placed in restricted mode.

It seems the algorithm, blindly flagging and restricting videos containing anything that might be construed controversial in the slightest, is at the core of the confusion leading creators to criticize the lack of transparency at YouTube. And if YouTube is unable to clarify what, exactly, is acceptable on its platform, they could stand to lose a fair amount of creators—which may not matter to them if they’re still getting those advertiser dollars. For creators, it may mean seeking out new, more accepting platforms, or finding niche platforms centered around the communities they love.

Police Officer Caught Selling Drugs To Undercover Federal Informant

police-officer-caught-selling-drugs-undercover-federal-informant-hero-80x80.jpg

It wasn’t a happy 420 for a police officer caught selling drugs to an undercover federal informant in New Jersey last week. FBI agents arrested Ruben McAusland, 26, on Friday, April 20 for selling drugs including cannabis, crack, heroin, and powder cocaine. McAusland is a patrol officer with the Paterson Police Department.

US Attorney Craig Carpenito announced that agents had taken McAusland into custody in a press release last week. Carpenito’s spokesperson Will Skaggs told the New York Post that the arrest is unusual.

“It’s a surprising case — that an officer, who is supposed to be preventing the sale of drugs, did just the opposite,” he said.

Officer Faces Multiple Allegations

According to a complaint filed by federal prosecutors, McAusland sold drugs to the informant several times beginning in October 2017. At that time he sold the individual approximately 35 grams of marijuana, 48 grams of heroin, 31 grams of cocaine, and 31 grams of crack cocaine for only $50.

McAusland then allegedly sold the informant a pound of weed on two different occasions. The first time he charged $2,500, the second pound cost $2,400.

In February of this year, McAusland offered to sell a kilo of cocaine to the Feds’ snitch. The same month and on several subsequent occasions, the police officer sold counterfeit Percocet pills. McAusland charged $7 each for the tablets, which actually contained heroin.

Also in February, while in his patrol car, he met the buyer in a supermarket parking lot near Paterson PD headquarters. McAusland delivered sample heroin pills to the informant at that time. He then sold heroin pills to the informant several times. One transaction in April was for more than 1,000 of the pills.

McAusland appeared in federal court on Friday and was released after posting a $100,000 bail bond. He faces up to 40 years in federal prison and a $5 million fine if he is convicted.

Final Hit: Police Officer Caught Selling Drugs To Undercover Federal Informant

McAusland is the third Paterson PD officers busted in the last two weeks. Federal agents arrested Jonathan Bustios, 28, and Eudy Ramos, 31, on April 11. They face charges of conspiring to deprive individuals of their civil rights under color of law.

Bustios and Ramos allegedly stopped drivers on the road while on patrol. After detaining the drivers, the cops conducted unjustified searches of vehicles. The corrupt officers also stole cash from those they stopped on at least one occasion.

 

Authorities have also charged Bustios with extortion. In that case, he allegedly offered not to arrest a man he had detained if the man in custody helped Bustios obtain a gun. The officer also said he would return cash he had seized in exchange for the firearm.

“I ain’t gonna charge you with resisting, and I’m letting you keep your money, bro. If you don’t wanna make the deal, you don’t have to make the deal,” Bustios told the man, according to local media.

Bustios and Ramos could serve up to ten years in prison for the civil rights violations charges. Additionally, Bustios faces twenty more years behind bars for the extortion case.

Moms Who Get High

moms-get-high-hero-80x80.jpg

When my son was born, it was through an incision in my abdomen. I was medicated with morphine and several other drugs, and I don’t remember much of his birth. Three days later, I was given codeine and other medications to take at home and sent swiftly on my way. I felt uncertain about taking painkillers while breastfeeding, even though the doctors said it was okay. I used them for a couple days, but they made me feel so loopy that it was hard for me to remember if I’d fed the baby, they reduced my appetite so severely I became malnourished and dehydrated, and they made it difficult for me to connect with my infant son. When I held him, I could barely feel his weight, and I couldn’t tell if I was being gentle enough with him because my sense of touch was altered. So I stopped taking the codeine. After that, the physical pain of recovery from my surgery was more excruciating than I could have ever imagined. When the baby cried, sitting up was agonizing. Lifting him to my breast was literally gut-wrenching.

Psychological Torment

Then, a couple days later, the anxiety hit me: a hot tsunami of fear the likes of which I’d never experienced. Unrelenting feelings of terror—that there was something wrong with the baby, that he was going to die—plagued my every waking moment. I had endless irrational fears that would not be quelled, such as that my husband would die and I’d be left alone with the baby. I would imagine gruesome scenario after gruesome scenario, like my brain was a horror writer trying out new gore pitches on me. I checked myself into the emergency room, unable to stop sobbing or the intrusive, cyclical thoughts. The doctor on duty told me that she’d had a baby a year earlier. She explained that things get easier. But for months the situation stayed the same. During this time, I felt utterly alone. I called my doctor and told her I thought I might have postpartum depression. She told me to hang in there.

At the insistence of my husband, I looked for a therapist experienced in postpartum depression. I couldn’t find anybody nearby that my insurance covered, so I decided to just try to hang in there as I was told to do. I wished so badly I could smoke just a tiny bit of pot. I knew it would help, but “Moms don’t smoke pot,” I thought to myself more times than I can count. Why not? One reason—perhaps the most important, that every mom blog opined: “It’s dangerous for babies.”

At one of my son’s checkups, I arrived in tears and asked his doctor to take my temperature. “Are you drinking two glasses of wine a night?” she asked me. My mouth dropped open. “I can do that?” She nodded and smiled. “Up to two a night,” she confirmed. I didn’t drink two glasses of wine a night before I got pregnant or became a mom, but I sure as hell was about to start.

Celia Behar

Celia Behar, a high-energy woman with cascading dark curls, is one of the mothers supporting a new parenting and pot movement. Her popular blog Lil’ Mamas discusses maternal matters in a candid way. Recently, Behar wrote about her own struggles with parenting and her choice to use cannabis recreationally, and also medicinally, to help cope with the traumas and hardships of being a divorced mother of two.

“I never really came back from the first round of postpartum depression,” Behar explains. “I was accepting what I thought was motherhood. I found that before I started treating myself with cannabis, I was really short with my older daughter and I didn’t really connect with her.” Her daughter, Behar says, will occasionally suggest that her mom get high in times of stress. But for Behar, it’s certainly not an everyday thing. “I tend to try to get through my day without using any cannabis,” she says. Behar thinks it’s normal to have a glass of wine around children while, say, cooking dinner—she just chooses to vape instead of drink.

 

Behar is a trained mental-health counselor, therapist and life coach who lives in a state where recreational and medicinal marijuana are legal. She admits to using a vape pen in front of her daughters, and sees this simple, smokeless act as an opening for her to have an honest discussion with her children about cannabis use.

Behar went public with her story after an in-depth discussion with her sister, who happens to be a Child Protective Services officer. “That’s why most moms won’t talk about using cannabis, because they’re worried,” Behar says. “CPS is going to open a case on you if you smoke pot while pregnant. It’s still a Schedule I drug. It shouldn’t be, but it is.”

Prescription Drugs and Glasses of Wine

Zoloft and other mood-stabilizing drugs are often prescribed to help women cope with the pressures of motherhood. And mothers are often ushered with a wink and a nod into the “mommy wine club.” Society approves if moms, within reason, drink their blues away. Since it’s “just wine,” and it’s legal, it raises nary an eyebrow.

“Before I started smoking again, I was drinking a lot—and I’m not a drinker, really,” Behar says. “I needed a cocktail every night, and that’s not who I am.” That changed following a conversation with a childhood friend of hers, Tom Grubbs. Grubbs is a partner in Moto Perpetuo, an Oregon produce farm known for its brag-worthy heirloom tomatoes, as well as its incredible high-quality cannabis. Behar recalls: “We were talking and Tom said, ‘You seem anxious and angry,’ and I broke down and told him since I had kids I’ve had anxiety and I can’t make it stop. He said, ‘Do you still smoke pot?’ I said, ‘I’m a mom, moms don’t smoke pot.’ He said, ‘Maybe you should think about that.’”

The discussion stuck with Behar, and she decided to give it a try. She struck up a relationship with the farm’s owner, David Hoyle, his wife, Lori, and their family. Behar discovered she could trust Moto Perpetuo to supply her with organic, premium-quality cannabis to help treat her conditions. Her blog Lil’ Mamas even publicly endorsed them.

 

Behar suffered, and cannabis helped, but many mothers didn’t have any sympathy. They responded with a backlash of accusation, judgment and harsh criticism. However, for every negative response, there was a mom moved by Behar’s story, wanting to know how to use cannabis to help cope with her maternal pain and trauma, too.

Parents Under Pressure

 

It’s all too common for people to point at other families and say that they’re doing it all wrong. When the welfare of a child is clearly in danger, there is good reason for speaking out. Other times, it falls into a gray area. Is it okay to use cannabis if you have young children? The government now says yes, depending on where you live, just like it’s acceptable to drink a glass of wine or beer if you have young children, even encouraged. But how about in front of your children? With cannabis legal in 30 states and counting and mothers admitting to using weed on social media—and the backlash that can follow—it is a new area of discussion.

Jill Trinchero and her husband started their edibles business She Don’t Know in 2015. Together, the two—with help from Trinchero’s mother-in-law—produce a line of THC-infused cookies and coconut snacks. They are parents to two teenage daughters, who Trinchero explains are thoroughly educated in cannabis: “Since they were small, any time we had the opportunity to teach them how marijuana is used as medicine, we took that opportunity, helping them understand that there’s this plant that really helps people, and that it’s not 100 percent legal. It’s not OK for kids. Once you’re of legal age, you can try it if you like, and don’t ever feel like you have to, but it’s an adult substance just like alcohol—so that’s what we teach them.”

Trinchero sees the benefits of using cannabis while parenting, though she won’t use it in front of her children. “It has made me a better mother. There are times when I want to be a kind mother and I need to slow down and see what is most important, and sometimes cannabis can do that for me… You don’t want the stresses of being a parent to affect your children in any negative way. I want them to see me [as] kind and patient.”

A thoughtful, intelligent woman, Trinchero is less revealing about her personal reasons for consuming the plant medicinally, though she will admit that she uses cannabis to relax and manage anxiety. “My medical record is private; the medications we use are private.” This touches on a common dilemma mothers and women who use medical marijuana face: They are often put into a position in which they feel they have to explain themselves and what their condition is, and then steel themselves for the judgment that will inevitably follow.

 

Postpartum Depression

It might be easy to dismiss a mom who says cannabis helps with postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety if you’re one of the lucky 85 percent of mothers who do not experience PPD or PPA, or a childless person, or a man. PPD/PPA is different than the “baby blues,” which up to 80 percent of new mothers experience—emotional postpartum feelings that fade on their own within a few weeks. PPD/PPA, as in my case, is a category-five-tornado version of the baby blues, featuring intense attacks of sorrow, fear, anxiety, withdrawal and, for some, an inability to function or extreme difficulty in doing everyday activities. It can also interfere with the ability of the mother and baby to bond. In rare cases, postpartum depression can result in obsessive-compulsive-disorder behaviors and even psychosis.

PPD/PPA affects women of all ages, backgrounds and levels of success, including celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow and Adele. The status of celeb moms who come out with their struggles brings more visibility to the challenges of motherhood. On the other hand, status and visibility can work to derail public understanding. Ann Coulter said pot makes users “retarded” in a rant at Politicon in July 2017. Around the same time, Portland mom Kayla Marlow posted an image of herself on her Facebook page smoking a bong while breastfeeding, which drew a massive backlash, even from some in the pot and parenting community.

Jenn Lauder and her husband run a pot and parenting lifestyle website, Splimm. A Wesleyan graduate and former school teacher, Lauder speaks intelligently on cannabis from a highly informed perspective. When the photo of Marlow went viral, Lauder was asked for her thoughts by a local news station covering the story. “I took a stand and said, ‘Maybe you shouldn’t be smoking anything next to an infant’s head,’” Lauder says. She laments that her “canna-momma” community felt like that comment meant she “sold them out,” but Lauder is holding fast.

“Responsible use matters, because of our kids’ safety and because of the optics of this movement,” Lauder explains. “I don’t think I’d hold a cup of hot coffee over my infant’s head. I was getting things like ‘Would you move your baby away from a campfire?’ and my answer was ‘Yes. I would. Absolutely.’” Lauder clarifies that the smoke and heat were her concern, not that the THC could be consumed by the baby through breast milk. “I made it absolutely clear that I have no issue consuming cannabis as a lactating mom. That’s not my issue at all.”

Breastfeeding

The popular mother’s information site KellyMom.com offers a treasure trove of topics on breastfeeding and other maternal concerns, including insight into the effects on babies of cannabis consumed through breast milk in a piece titled “Breastfeeding and Marijuana.” Some of the information is based on a 2001 medical-magazine report that THC makes its way into breast milk. The study, by the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs, titled “The Transfer of Drugs and Other Chemicals Into Human Milk,” states that marijuana falls into the category of “Drugs of Abuse for Which Adverse Effects on the Infant During Breastfeeding Have Been Reported.”

The study says that, as of 2001, there had only been one report in medical literature showing no effect on infants, but adds that marijuana has a very long half-life for some components, with an addendum: “The Committee on Drugs strongly believes that nursing mothers should not ingest drugs of abuse, because they are hazardous to the nursing infant and to the health of the mother.” Yet it offers no further details as to what those hazards might include. Psychotropic medications such as anti-anxiety, antidepressant and neuroleptic drugs were categorized as “Drugs for Which the Effect on Nursing Infants Is Unknown but May Be of Concern.” Both morphine and codeine were categorized as “Drugs That Have Been Associated With Significant Effects on Some Nursing Infants and Should Be Given to Nursing Mothers With Caution.” The report states that no effects were found with codeine and that morphine could possibly be found in measurable amounts in an infant’s blood. Suffice to say, my baby was probably born high on morphine. Though the report states there is no effect on infants, that wasn’t the way I would have liked my baby to have entered the world.

To further explore the effects of cannabis on babies from a medical standpoint, I asked three pediatricians if I could consume cannabis while breastfeeding my son. None of them could answer with certainty—all admitted to lacking the knowledge necessary to offer a conclusive yea or nay. How are mothers supposed to be educated on the topic when even their doctors aren’t?

Final Hit: Moms Who Get High

Many of the toys, play mats, carpeting, furniture, paints, bedding and clothing—even formula, food and the very water we drink in some cities—are toxic to our infants, our pets and ourselves. Items made in American and foreign factories are treated with carcinogenic chemicals and hazardous compounds that aren’t good for babies to put into their mouths, play with, breathe in or sleep on. Through a process known as “off-gassing,” these substances are released into the air and enter our homes, lungs and bodies. As a person who began smoking pot as a teenager and was raised in an environment where it was consumed with some regularity from as far back as I can remember, I can attest that, at least in my opinion, I turned out okay. I’m much more concerned with air and water quality, the toxic state of the world and the poisonous chemicals in our everyday household items than I am about a mom responsibly treating her PPD/PPA with cannabis.

What became clear to me from interviewing moms who use cannabis, reading studies, speaking to doctors, and contemplating the pros and cons of it myself is that the question shouldn’t be “Is consuming cannabis while breastfeeding and/or parenting acceptable, hazardous or questionable?” The question is “How can we get moms and parents the support, education and resources that they need so they can make the decisions necessary to be the best parents they can be?”

As cannabis becomes increasingly legal, now is the time for unbiased, well-funded studies on its effects on breastfeeding babies. Until that information becomes available, cautious mothers may opt to lessen anxiety with meditation, counseling, yoga, exercise, a healthy diet, laughter, finding time to do things they love—even if it’s only for five minutes a day—and the support of friends, family and loved ones.

Whether cannabis is smoked, vaped, eaten or otherwise consumed, I can attest that, as someone who has had a lot of experience with it over the years, as high as I’ve been (and that’s pretty damn high), there’s not any level of stoned or any strain of weed in existence that could keep me from loving and protecting my child.

Weed Dispensaries Are Bracing Themselves For Super Bowl Sunday

weed-dispensaries-super-bowl-sunday-social-hero-400x240-1.jpg

Weed dispensaries are bracing themselves for Super Bowl Sunday. The Big Game is right around the corner, and retailers across the board are getting ready for a huge weekend. And that, of course, includes cannabis stores. Around the country, in states where it’s legal, these specialty shops are prepping for a touchdown.

High Retail Numbers

Super Bowl Sunday is traditionally one of the most active weekends for retail. Now, new stats show that this trend holds true for the legal cannabis industry as well.

USA Today and cannabis sales company Green Bits recently compiled sales data for the legal weed industry. These numbers reveal that last year, weed sales spiked by 40 percent on the Saturday before the Super Bowl.

Similarly, the average purchase at a dispensary went from $100 to $140 right before the Big Game. Edibles and THC cartridges were the most popular Super Bowl products last year.

This year, experts are expecting even bigger overall numbers. That’s primarily because there are now more places where recreational weed is legal.

 

With the recent legalization of recreational weed in Vermont, there are now nine states, plus Washington D.C., where weed is legal.

Most notably, California launched legal sales at the beginning of the year. That state alone should add a significant boost to overall weed retail numbers this weekend.

Along with Super Bowl weekend, there are a few other key dates that are emerging as hot times for legal weed sales. Not surprisingly, the 420 season is one of the busiest times for weed retail. Additionally, the days before and immediately following Thanksgiving are active. So are the days just before Christmas.

Social Events and Cannabis Consumption

 

Experts say that much of Super Bowl weekend’s appeal has to do with the social aspects of consuming weed. More and more, people in weed-legal states are turning to cannabis for social recreation. Sometimes, even more than alcohol.

 

“The Super Bowl is like any other large social event: people getting together,” Green Bits CEO Ben Curren told USA Today. “Whenever there’s a large social event we see an uptick in purchases.”

Many experts suspect that people are turning to weed during social events because it lets people get high and have fun, but without feeling hung over the next day.

“You can be social, have a good time, and still be a human being and go to work the next day,” said Justin Bishoff, manager of the GroundSwell dispensary in Denver.

Final Hit: Weed Dispensaries Are Bracing Themselves For Super Bowl Sunday

As weed dispensaries are bracing themselves for Super Bowl Sunday, the relationship between cannabis and football is intensifying. And not just in terms of fans purchasing more weed.

More and more, current and former NFL players are calling on the league to allow for the use of medical marijuana. A growing number of concerned players are pointing out that without reliable access to medical marijuana, pro football players are too often forced to rely on dangerous opioids.

As a result, many players run the risk of developing harmful dependencies.

 

In fact, a survey taken last year found that 91 percent of NFL players have taken opioid painkillers at some point. Forty-five percent said they felt pressure from team doctors, staff, and teammates to use the drugs.

Whether it’s players using medical marijuana to manage pain or fans buying weed for Super Bowl parties, it seems as if legal weed and football are increasingly working well together.