Pot-themed golf tourneys becoming the new normal

Paul Danish/Sue France

The words “marijuana” and “golf” have rarely appeared together in the same sentence since the invention of English, but the times they are a-changing.

Last week, Johnny Green at The Weed Blog (theweedblog.com) reported that three marijuana-themed golf tournaments will take place this summer, including one that will be held in Broomfield.
The latter is The Ricky Williams Laurel Rosebud Golf Invitational, scheduled to take place on Monday, July 11 at the Omni Interlocken Golf Course in Broomfield. A dinner, awards ceremony and auction will follow the action on the greens.

The tournament will benefit the nonprofit mission of the Laurel Rosebud Fund, described as “a nonpartisan public policy organization dedicated to ensuring our cannabis laws reflect thoughtful and contemporary notions of economic growth and fairness, respect for individual rights, and social balance and wellbeing in communities throughout the United States.”

Ricky Williams is the 1998 Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Texas, who played for the New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens before retiring in 2011.

During his career with the Dolphins, he ran afoul of the NFL anti-marijuana policy and missed the 2004 season with the Dolphins as a result. He has said he used marijuana to treat depression and social anxiety disorder.

Following his retirement, he has become a strong advocate of marijuana policy reform in professional sports and throughout the U.S.

An earlier marijuana-themed golf tournament took place on June 26 at the Park Hill Golf Club in Denver. Premium Pete’s Cannabis and High Rollers dispensary partnered with The Hemp Connoisseur Magazine to host the Cannabis Charity Open, which benefitted the Denver Colorado AIDS project.

The tournament sponsors said, “As part of an industry born by the will of the voters, we feel it is important to give back to our community. By sponsoring the charitable golf tournament in Denver, we hope to help those affected by HIV/AIDS to live healthier, more comfortable lives.”

The third tournament, the second annual Fore Twenty Golf Tournament, will take place in Portland, Oregon June 30. It’s described as a tourney which gives cannabis industry professionals an opportunity “to fortify deals and build relationships on the golf course.”

The tournament is billed “as the largest cannabis golf tournament in the Northwest” and has players representing 55 different cannabis brands from Oregon signed up. Former NBA all-star and current sports cannabis activist Cliff Robinson will be in attendance. He’s been active in trying to get marijuana accepted as an alternative to addictive pain killers in sports.

In September, the tournament’s sponsor, Fore Twenty Sports, intends to sponsor two additional tournaments, one of which will be open to the public.

What makes all this remarkable is that it is so unremarkable. Golf is probably the last sport on earth that one would associate with stoners. Yet suddenly marijuana-themed golf tournaments are all the rage.

Golf is probably the most bourgeois of sports, one that in the popular imagination is seen, unfairly perhaps, as more likely to be played by the boss than the workers.

What is important here is that the advent of marijuana-themed golf tournaments as an indication of marijuana is transcending the counter-culture and becoming a part of American middle-class culture.

In terms of ending the war on pot, that may be as important a development as legalization initiatives because it represents a fundamental change in how marijuana is perceived.

Seventy years of reefer madness has left marijuana with a cultural stigma that remains even after it has been legalized. Thus some Niwot residents are more frightened by a proposed marijuana dispensary in the town than the dozen liquor outlets functioning within a block or two of it — despite the fact that liquor outlets are far less stringently regulated and far more likely to be the scene of offensive or violent behavior. Those sorts of fears will persist until marijuana is no longer seen as abnormal.

Associating pot with normal middle-class activities, like golf tournaments, is a major step toward its normalization.


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