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How People in Colorado Feel About the “Bud Bowl”

by Steph Glaser Feb 2, 2014

IT’S HARD to ignore news coverage of Super Bowl Sunday, or “Bud Bowl Sunday” — named because the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, the teams set to throw down later today, hail from the two states that have legalized pot. It’s Colorado vs. Washington: “Clash of the Tokers.”

Puns and plays on words started flying the minute the Seahawks scored the winning touchdown against the 49ers in the NFC Championship game on January 19. The result: “Bud Bowl,” “Stoner Bowl,” “Doobie Bowl,” “’The Evergreen State’ vs. ‘The Mile High City,’” and “Lots of Hits and No Penalties.”

Here are some common reactions from Coloradans when asked about all that.

1. “Yeah, we know.”

On January 1, when an Australian friend posted “Happy ‘Green Wednesday’ to all my Colorado mates” on Facebook, my initial reaction was: Isn’t it a bit early for Earth Day?

Evidently, the rest of the world knew “Green Wednesday” was when recreational marijuana stores opened legally in Colorado. However, for many of us who don’t have a retail marijuana store in our town, or for non-consumers, it’s easier than you think to overlook the hype. After all, we voted on Amendment 64, making pot use for pleasure legal in Colorado, at the end of 2012.

2. “What?”

Even with all the punned-out references, as well as NLF-geared-up Cheech and Chong Instagram pics, and bleary-eyed Broncos and Seahawks caricatures, interestingly, not all cannabis connoisseurs are aware of the “Bud Bowl.”

When you don’t live in Denver, don’t have a retail shop in your town, don’t watch TV, or you don’t consume, it’s easier to be oblivious of the matchup. The reaction of one Salida, CO shopkeeper when he learned what “Bud Bowl” actually meant: “Oh, I thought Budweiser was sponsoring the whole thing.”

3. “Bonus.”

For many Colorado cannabis fans, a “Stoner Bowl Sunday” is the hash oil on top of the bud. In reality, “Green Wednesday” was actually the big day. The “Bud Bowl” is just an additional reason for Colorado cannabis consumers to be happy.

“It has united and excited the marijuana communities,” says Christine Zirbel, with The Green Solution in Denver. “For the most part, we hear about the rivalries of the sport, but his year, everyone just wants to get some herb and celebrate the new age of cannabis.”

4. “Bring on the business.”

Dank Colorado, a smaller Denver medical dispensary and retail shop, had 396 recreational customers on January 1. “Ever since Green Wednesday, we see about 180 to 300 customers a day,” says Jay Griffin, the store’s general manager. He doesn’t see this slowing down anytime soon, especially not for Super Bowl Sunday.

“There’s been a lot of momentum, a lot of talk, a lot of buzz. And it’s pretty exciting,” Griffin adds.

Zirbel also welcomes the boost in business for The Green Solution. “We have had the best customers, and growing excitement for both recreational cannabis and the Super Bowl.”

Several recreational marijuana shops are selling t-shirts and Broncos-themed paraphernalia, offering “Bud Bowl” specials, and keeping many edibles on hand for halftime snacks.

5. “Who’s going to play Manning on Saturday Night Live?”

Generally speaking, the Seahawks and Broncos matchup amuses most Coloradans. We’ve already seen a hysterical parody with SNL’s Noël Wells playing TV host Nancy Grace freaking out over legalized marijuana in Colorado. In the skit, “Nancy” interviews well-known toker and comedian Kat Williams, played by Canadian rapper Drake. Some epic satire is sure to ensue.

Our own Colorado comics are providing laughs for us also. Comedian Jake Browne wrote a hilarious piece for the Denver Post blog the Cannibist, in which he pairs up Super Bowl players with particular strains of pot. Browne’s suggestion for Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning: “In honor of that surgically repaired neck and one heck of a forehead, Manning’s strain would clearly be Dead Head OG.”

6. “How about a friendly wager?”

The Super Bowl usually involves some light gambling, and one of the notable “Bud Bowl” bets is between the Colorado and Washington chapters of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). If the Seahawks lose, the Washington chapter will don Broncos colors and sing John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High.” If the Broncos lose, Colorado’s NORML will sing “Purple Haze” by Seattle legend Jimi Hendrix and wear Seahawks gear.

The Green Solution, and Seattle’s Greenworks Co-Operative, also placed a bet on the game — the loser will donate $1,000 to the winning dispensary’s charity of choice.

7. “Let’s take a tour.”

My 420 Tours, the first cannabis tourism company in Denver, definitely embraced the “Bud Bowl” idea. The company is hosting a sold-out, three-day “Stoner Bowl IV-XX Tour” of Denver that includes visits to recreational stores, a cannabis cooking class, and a “Stoner Bowl Bash.” Ticket prices were listed up to $1,803 per person.

8. “I’m making ‘Grape Ape’ appetizers.”

In addition to Super Bowl party staples like Velveeta-laced nachos, bean dip, and cocktail weenies, party planners have concocted “marijuana enhanced” recipes with hash and cannabis oils. In her article, “A Cannabis-Themed Super Bowl Party?” Denver Post writer Claire Martin interviews Dana Cain, an event planner based in Denver:

I haven’t smoked pot in 20 years, and I’m not throwing a Super Bowl party this year. But if I were, I’d want to have a regular food buffet, and a Stoner Bowl buffet with pot brownies and pot-infused, pot-themed stuff. Instead of a drinking game, you could have a toking game: Whenever Manning yells ‘Omaha!’ you have to take a hit off the bong.

9. “It’s no big deal.”

Because marijuana has been legal to use recreationally for more than a year, the “Bud Bowl” matchup doesn’t faze many Coloradans. “It’s the same as every other Super Bowl. There will still be parties at people’s homes, except now they’ll be legal,” says Brian Carroll, budtender and grower for High Country Healing II in Alma, CO.

The winter storm that recently dumped several inches of snow on the Rocky Mountains is piquing more interest, at least for skiers, who care more about how much snow Colorado just got than which team the Broncos are playing on Sunday.

Another reason the “Bud Bowl” is not such a big deal, according to several smokers: Marijuana has lost some of its allure because it’s legal.

“I always remember smoking and having the paranoid effect,” says Mike Potts (his name was not changed for this story). “They know I’m smoking. Now it doesn’t matter. You kind of lose a little bit of the fun. It’s just like drinking beer now,” Potts adds. “Who cares?”

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