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Marijuana purchases skyrocketed during Super Bowl weekend

A different kind of super bowl.


AJ Dellinger


Super Bowl 50 failed to draw the event’s largest TV viewing audience, but it did set a different kind of record: it was the highest Super Bowl ever.

According to medical marijuana delivery company GreenRush, football’s biggest event brought a significant uptick in weed sales. The weekend of the game saw purchases spike by 310 percent over standard weekends and marked the biggest weekend in the company’s history, outpacing every holiday that came before it—including 4/20.

GreenRush operates similar to an Uber but for medical marijuana dispensaries, facilitating the connection between patient and seller and skipping a percent off the top of each transaction. The company has over 200 active dispensaries throughout California. 

75 percent of its Super Bowl spike came from Northern California, including cities like Sacramento, Fresno, and Bay Area cities like San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. Super Bowl host city Santa Clara also fell under this umbrella.

Paul Warshaw, GreenRush CEO, told the Daily Dot that part of the jump had to do with the event taking place in the Bay Area, which led to a coalescence of marijuana users in the surrounding neighborhoods. They partook in the service, perhaps at the recommendation of others in the area who have used it or to have their fix brought to them while they were away from home. 

While growth of GreenRush’s business has been consistent without events like the Super Bowl, Warshaw said “people seem to be stocking up around the holiday time.” Prior to the Super Bowl, GreenRush saw record days on Halloween and New Year’s Eve. 

The growth in green around the holidays is at least in part because the company runs promotions around major events. In partnership with dispensaries, GreenRush ran 25 separate offers over Super Bowl weekend.

It wasn’t just more orders for medical marijuana, either; the average amount of the purchase jumped as well. During the uptick in weed buying, the average transaction rose from $72 to over $81, about a 13 percent increase. 

Peak time for orders came between 4pm and 10pm, and the vast majority—about 80 percent—were placed on smartphones. Apple users led the way in weed needs, placing 61 percent of mobile orders.

“People were festive and celebrating,” Warshaw said. He said he believed some people were placing orders for gatherings and get togethers around the event. But he backtracked to make it clear that the service is meant for medicinal use only. “These are all patients, you cannot purchase marijuana unless you’re a patient,” he explained. 

Chris Francy, the Chief Operating Officer of CalCann Holdings, told the Daily Dot the dispensaries his company owns in Santa Ana, Ca. experienced a similar spike in purchases. 

“The Friday and Saturday before the Super Bowl were our busiest Friday and Saturday to date,” he told the Daily Dot. Francy noted that the company has been growing consistently anyway, and major events regularly cause an upswing in purchases.

The record figures for weed sales shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as marijuana gains acceptance across the country and transactions for the product are made legal, sales figures are only likely to grow as the industry comes out from the shadows. Still, the massive spike during the Super Bowl made for an outlier from the standard growth patterns of these companies.

And given the new high in people getting high, it’s likely no coincidence that Pizza Hut set record numbers for digital sales during Super Bowl Sunday, topping $12 million in online and mobile orders.

The Super Bowl may have been a low-scoring affair that left some fans disappointed, but from the data it seems like Californians probably didn’t mind—or notice at all. 

Illustration via Max Fleishman

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The Daily Dot