Super Bowl LVIII, Cannabis and the NFL


Super Bowl LVIII is upon us, with the stage being set for the first time in Las Vegas, Nevada, for an exciting showdown between the San Francisco 49ers and the reigning champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. This much-anticipated rematch from 2022 is slated for this Sunday, February 11, 2024, and will mark the 58th consecutive installment of the Super Bowl.

As the two teams gear up to captivate an audience in one of America's most popular recreationally legal states, the cannabis community around the world is reminded of the complicated relationship between cannabis culture and the NFL and the interesting direction it might be heading.

Cannabis and the NFL: A Complicated Relationship

Smoking weed and watching football are two of America’s greatest pastimes. In fact, these activities are often even better when enjoyed together. However, the relationship between cannabis and the NFL has not been quite as harmonious. From the drug testing and banning of cannabis advertising to Snoop Dogg smoking at the halftime show, this article seeks to analyze and explore the storied connection behind the Super Bowl and marijuana - just in time for Super Bowl LVIII.

To truly understand the present situation, we have to journey into the past of both the NFL and national drug laws. Notably, the league didn't always test or penalize players for consuming marijuana, only implementing an extensive drug test program in the 1980s during Ronald Reagan’s infamous and reinvigorated “war on drugs”.

Can NFL players smoke weed?

Cannabis remains a forbidden substance in the National Football League, but their stance has become much more lenient in recent years. In 2021, the NFL Players Association revised testing requirements, limiting cannabis drug testing to only once a year at the beginning of the player's training camp under PES policy.

This essentially makes it fully possible for athletes to enjoy cannabis during the offseason, as long as they stop before the yearly testing begins. “If you just stop in the middle of July, you're fine," Travis Kelce, a well-regarded 11-year tight end that plays for the reigning champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, told Vanity Fair. In fact, the reigning champion and boyfriend to Taylor Swift, told the publication that he estimates that 50% to 80% of all NFL players use cannabis in some form.

Which NFL players smoke marijuana?

Randy Moss

Image sourced from ESPN

  • Randy Moss: Throughout Randy Moss's extensive tenure in the NFL, where he amassed 982 receptions for 15,292 yards and 156 touchdowns, he often publicly acknowledged his personal use of cannabis.
Ricky Williams
  • Ricky Williams: In his 11-year NFL career, Ricky Williams led the league in single-season rushing yards and surpassed 10,000 career rushing yards. But beyond his on-field achievements, Williams is notable for advocating for the acceptance of cannabis.

Mike Vick

Image sourced from ESPN

  • Michael Vick: At one time the highest-paid player in the NFL, the controversial Michael Vick tested positive for marijuana use back in 2007 while playing for the Atlanta Falcons.

Calvin Johnson

Image sourced from ESPN

  • Calvin Johnson: Calvin Johnson is a former wide receiver for the Detroit Lions. He has admitted to consuming the plant for therapeutic reasons during his time in the NFL and has since co-founded a cannabinoid research company that aims to advocate for cannabis use in sports.

Jim McMahon Stats, News and Video - QB |

Image sourced from

  • Jim McMahon: McMahon is a former NFL quarterback who is quoted saying “I used [marijuana] throughout my whole career…I've been using since 1973. Now that I know it's great for me, that's why I continue with it."

Travis Kelce

Image sourced from ESPN

  • Travis Kelce: Travis Kelce is "arguably one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history" and currently plays for the Chiefs, which will be facing off against the 49ers in this year's Super Bowl. Kelce disclosed that he had been issued an outright suspension from playing football for one season at Cincinnati University after testing positive for marijuana in 2010.

Other NFL players known for enjoying the benefits of cannabis include Jake Plummer, Eben Britton, Kyle Turley and Nate Jackson. Professional athletes in a variety of different sports like basketball and mixed martial arts are known to indulge in cannabinoid products for rest, recovery and relaxation.

What happens if you get caught smoking weed in the NFL?

The NFL's official policy prohibits players from consuming cannabis during training camp and during the season. However, the penalties for failing have lessened considerably in the last few years. In the event of positive marijuana tests, players simply face a fine (up to three weeks' pay) instead of a suspension. A financial penalty is much easier to swallow and does not negatively affect the rest of the team or the team's fans.

Under the new CBA (collective bargaining agreement), the threshold for a positive test has been elevated from 35 nanograms to 150 nanograms, demonstrating the evolving stance on cannabis use within the league. Players with a positive test are not suspended and will not face any sort of punishment outside of a one time financial penalty. 

The NFL along with other professional sporting leagues are moving towards a "treatment not punishment" approach when it comes to marijuana use among professional athletes. Many believe that the testing programs ought to be more focused on cracking down on performance enhancing drugs rather than recreational drugs.

Are there medical exemptions for cannabis use in the NFL?

Unfortunately as it stands, the NFL and its Players Association prohibit current players from using cannabis. However, the league does have a process for players to seek therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) for certain banned substances if they have a legitimate medical need. However, obtaining a TUE for cannabis is extremely rare due to the league's strict anti-drug policy. 

In 2018, Mike James (a former NFL running back) sought such an exemption for medical cannabis for pain management, but was ultimately denied by the league. Although medical marijuana is officially legal in 38 out of 50 states in the USA for purposes like pain relief, the stances of professional sporting leagues haven't necessarily caught up to reflect public perception and acceptance.

Cannabis and Super Bowl LVIII

The big game is almost here, with the Chiefs and the 49ers going head to head this Sunday. Every year, cannabis consumers joke about taking a "super bowl" from their bong, pipe, etc to help them celebrate the day. There is a clear and noticeable contrast between the NFL's official stance on cannabis and the cultural permeation of the plant in the league, the fandom, and its yearly championship game.

"Super Bowl" bong meme

Snoop Dogg at the Half-Time Show

The 2022 halftime show was iconic at Super Bowl LVI - featuring Dr. Dre, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent, Anderson Paak and famed stoner rapper, Snoop Dogg. Many sources have reported that Snoop Dogg smoked a giant joint right before performing at the Super Bowl. Regardless of the NFL's official stance, it's clear that cannabis culture has permeated into football fandom. When you invite Snoop into your venue, you have to expect that a joint is getting lit up. Even this year's performer at Super Bowl LVIII, legendary R&B singer Usher, has admitted to consuming cannabis in the past.

Are cannabis ads allowed during the Super Bowl?

One of the most anticipated parts of the Super Bowl these days are the creative and costly commercial spots in between the action. Super Bowl ads are known for being epic and extravagant, acting as a yearly marketing showcase for the top consumer brands in the country. 

Tens of millions of viewers tune in to watch the Super Bowl each year with large numbers watching the most newsworthy ads on social media the next day, or days before as we’ve seen so far this year

Notably, one type of product that you will not see on television during Super Bowl LVIII are cannabis brands. We can only imagine the levels of creativity that we would enjoy if cannabis companies were allowed to air their commercials but weed fans shouldn’t hold their breath.

Unfortunately, cannabis ads are not permitted during the Super Bowl or any other NFL-sanctioned event. The NFL has strict advertising guidelines that prohibit the promotion of cannabis-related products or services. This stance aligns with the league's overall policies regarding the use of federally banned substances, including cannabis. Additionally, the advertising of a Schedule 1 drug such as cannabis is subject to various federal and state regulations, further restricting their promotion during high-profile events like the Super Bowl - or anywhere else for that matter.

Can you smoke weed at the Super Bowl?

Although Las Vegas is a 420-friendly stoner's paradise, the Allegiant Stadium - where the game will be played for the first time - is a strictly drug-free and smoke-free environment. Furthermore, the use of "drugs" and/or smoking (including vaporizers, e-cigarettes, marijuana use and smokeless tobacco) are strictly prohibited at any NFL sanctioned event. 

As attitudes and policies evolve, we hope that NFL fans will one day be able to enjoy a cannabis-infused edible or beverage, or maybe even a vape or joint, at a game sometime in the near future.

Super Bowl stoned guy meme

Advocating for a Green Future: Cannabis and the NFL

As state legislation and societal attitudes towards smoking marijuana evolve, so too are opinions within the NFL. Vocal advocates are pushing for a more lenient approach to cannabis use within the league, highlighting the need for updated policies that reflect evolving perspectives on the plant's role in sports. 

In the past few years, retired and current top-tier football players have emerged as leading voices advocating for cannabis and pushing for reform of outdated policies. Many of them are stepping up as executives and investors of cannabis and CBD companies across the globe. 

As the long term effects of playing a contact sport like football continue to emerge, and the positive benefits of cannabis for traumatic brain injuries and other medical conditions continue to gain recognition among the medical community, it is likely that more and more former players will gravitate towards and advocate for marijuana usage. 

Advocates are hopeful that more research funding will be allocated towards studying the effects of cannabis on the brain in the future, especially if cannabis is rescheduled in the near future. With more lenient rules being passed under the 2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the league is already showing a willingness to evolve their policies and perspective on the plant. Even while cannabis remains illegal on the federal level, the National Football League has shown they are willing to listen to marijuana advocates and even potentially make changes to appease them.

The intersection of cannabis and the NFL continues to spark important conversations about policy, athlete wellness, and cultural acceptance. As the league navigates this complex landscape, it faces the challenge of balancing cultural tradition with evolving progressive attitudes toward cannabis. Whether it's alumni turned cannabis advocates or current star players speaking out, the dialogue around cannabis in the National Football League underscores the ongoing evolution of both sports culture and drug policy in America and beyond.

Rescheduling Cannabis and the Implications for Sports

The recent political push for the rescheduling of cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3 in the USA has significant implications, not only for the marijuana industry but also for pro sporting leagues like the NFL. If this rescheduling does occur, it could mark a turning point in how cannabis is perceived and regulated in the sports world.

For the cannabis industry, such a rescheduling would likely open up new opportunities for growth and expansion. With cannabis moving to a less restrictive schedule, it could pave the way for increased research, investment, and innovation within the industry. Additionally, it could lead to greater acceptance and normalization of cannabis use, potentially attracting more consumers and investors alike.

This could especially be the case for cannabis-based drugs, as Amy Rubenstein, a partner with law firm Dentons, explains:

“Schedule 3 allows essentially a new pathway for cannabis to be in the marketplace, which is through an FDA-approved drug channel”. Rubenstein went on to explain that these cannabis-based drugs could then be purchased with a doctor’s prescription once they have been approved by the FDA. However, drug development takes years so it would be a while before consumers could get their hands on them.

Relaxing cannabis testing further

In professional sports leagues like the NFL, the impact of cannabis rescheduling would be noticeable across various aspects of the game. One significant area of change would be in the league's testing programs. With cannabis moving to a lower schedule, the NFL may reconsider its current policies and testing protocols regarding cannabis use among players. 

This could result in a more lenient approach or the removal of cannabis from its banned substance list altogether, aligning with the growing trend towards support and safe use rather than punishment.

Opening the door to cannabis advertising

Moreover, the rescheduling of cannabis could have implications for sponsorship and advertising opportunities within the NFL. Currently, the league prohibits the promotion of cannabis-related products or services, in line with federal regulations

However, if cannabis were to be rescheduled, it might prompt the NFL to revisit its stance on cannabis advertising, potentially opening up new avenues for partnerships and athlete sponsorships within the industry. This might make the Super Bowl more open to accepting cannabis-related advertisements in the future, providing cannabis companies with a platform to reach a massive audience.

Getting cannabis rescheduling to the End Zone

The rescheduling of cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3 in the USA could have far-reaching implications for the sports industry, sports fans and athletes alike. From testing programs to sponsorship opportunities, the shift could bring about significant changes in how cannabis is perceived and regulated within the world of professional sports. If such a rescheduling occurs, it could mark a pivotal moment in the ongoing dialogue surrounding cannabis and its place in sports culture. 

There’s no doubt that football fans will be on the edge of their seats come Sunday’s game. What isn’t certain is how long many in the cannabis industry will remain on the edge of their seats in anticipation of cannabis rescheduling. With rescheduling proving to be a pivotal issue in an election year, this could come sooner than many expect. 

How to Prepare for a Stoney Super Bowl with STIIIZY

Last year, STIIIZY hosted an engaging tailgate event before the Super Bowl in Arizona, hosted by the renowned cannabis brand alongside various additional sponsors. Attendees enjoyed live music, games, and giveaways while sampling STIIIZY's latest products, fostering a festive atmosphere that perfectly combined the excitement of football and cannabis culture. This year, STIIIZY is helping you celebrate by giving you the top tips to prepare for a stony Super Bowl!

Edibles and Munchies

Whether you're hosting friends, attending a party or watching solo - having an array of snacks to choose from is absolutely essential when viewing the Super Bowl. You can't go wrong with an extra large sized bag of chips or popcorn, chocolate, cookies, fruit or gummy candies. Mix in some delicious STIIIZY Weed Edibles gummies for an infused and elevated experience. 

Get the Glass Ready

Get ready to pack your very own "Super Bowl" and clean your glass out before the big game starts. Grab any bong, pipe, rig or one-hitter that you desire to use and start the cleaning process the day before or the morning of the game. Make sure you have isopropyl alcohol (at least 90% concentration) and coarse salt (Epsom salt or kosher salt works well), shake the mixture inside of your glass, rinse with hot water and then let it sit and dry completely for lighting up. Voila! Your glass is bright, shiny and clean for a group or solo session.

Charge up your Vape

Make sure your technology is charged and ready-to-go for game day. Keeping your vape charged will prevent clogging by ensuring that the device is always working at its optimum heat level. We recommend charging your STIIIZY battery on low voltage for 30-45 minutes for optimal performance. 

Tailgate and Blaze

Tailgate experiences (like the STIIIZY tailgate for Super Bowl LVII) are perfect opportunities to enjoy cannabis outdoors with friends. Research any local tailgates, bring some of your favorite goodies and join the party!