From college football to the NFL, nothing says Game Day like a lively tailgate scene complete with BBQ and beers or wine and cheese and a lot of sloshing Solo cups paraded around stadium parking lots. But with the rise in popularity, not to mention the legality, of cannabis, tailgaters and entrepreneurs alike are looking to swap Solo cups for smokes, edibles, and the like. With football season finally back in full-ish swing, cannabis companies in Michigan (the nation’s third-largest recreational cannabis market) are getting in on the action with exclusive tailgating products and activations.
The college market is a particular focus of these new tailgate-tailored products. College students’ cannabis consumption in 2020 reached an all-time, historic high unseen since 1983 according to the National Institute on Drug abuse’s annual “Monitoring the Future” study. The study also showed that more than four in every ten college students reported using marijuana in 2020, and the increase occurred in similar proportions among college-aged respondents who aren’t in school. Alcohol usage, meanwhile, was less common in 2020 than in previous years, including binge drinking, getting drunk, and overall alcohol use. The decline has been ongoing over the last few decades and the low is also “historic” according to the principal investigator of the study, John Schulenburg. Alcohol usage was “significantly lower” in 2020 than just a year prior in 2019, with increasing legalization and the pandemic highlighted as likely factors.
This is all to say that the college tailgating crowd isn’t only primed for some grit and glory on the gridiron, but for a creative range of products and events that offer alternatives to boozy barbecues. Lansing-based Pure Options sent out an invite to Michigan State fans to an all-season tailgate in front of Spartan Stadium. Michigan cannabis company SKYMINT recently launched their Tailgate Collection, which includes cannabis-infused gummies “Varsity Blue” and “Green Machine” as well as the terpene-heavy “Tailgate Vape”. To celebrate the annual Michigan vs. Michigan State game, SKYMINT will host a tailgate party at their East Lansing location on October 30th. The event will feature food, games and podcast hosts sports columnist Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal and sports podcast host Jason Knick.