Outside of Las Vegas, the announcement that the Las Vegas Lights were teaming up with NuWu Cannabis Marketplace to become the first professional sports team to partner with a cannabis dispensary sent a small shockwave through the industry.
Inside the city, and the team, it was just another day at the office.
“Recreational Marijuana is legal in Nevada,” mentioned owner Brett Lashbrook. “The good people of Nevada overwhelmingly voted in favor of it last year.”
Although it was just another day in Vegas, Lashbrook understands the outsiders perspective on the partnership and sees the conversation around it as a good thing.
“I understand the shock value, especially for those who don’t live in the state of Nevada, and I certainly understand the first pro team to be associated with it, but I also think it is part of the de-stigmatization of recreational cannabis.”
“Being the largest dispensary, being the first to have a 24/7 drive-thru, they are like-minded in the idea of making no small plans.” – Brett Lashbrook
Similarly to many of their other partnerships, Lashbrook and the Lights were looking for a partner that was local, that was investing in downtown, and that was seen as a leader in their space.
We were going to wait till 4:20 pm, but we were just too excited 😏
We are proud to announce our partnership with @NuwuCannabis!
The first professional sports team in the U.S. to partner with a marijuana dispensary.
ONLY. IN. VEGAS. pic.twitter.com/ItGhT7a4vn
— Las Vegas Lights FC (@lvlightsfc) April 13, 2018
NuWu checked all the boxes.
“It’s the largest cannabis dispensary in the United States, it is also the only one with a 24/7 drive-thru, and it is two blocks from our stadium,” said Lashbrook. “They have invested millions of dollars in downtown Las Vegas as part of the revitalization and growth of the area. a team that loves downtown and embraces it proudly, the partnership was a natural fit from that sense.”
While its a just another normal sports partnership in the sense of deliverables on both sides, Lashbrook notes that there were some hurdles they had to jump over before everything was signed, sealed, and delivered.
“When it comes to the types of advertisements they can do, it is heavily regulated by the state,” mentioned Lashbrook. “We began to ask questions as to what is allowed and quickly realized that there was absolutely a way to do this. We then started doing our own research, and realized very early on that the synergies between ourselves and NuWu.”
For Lashbrook, the partnership might be heralded as innovative and forward thinking, but the community tie-in is the biggest plus for all parties involved.
#NuWu is two blocks away. You can park there and they'll take you to and from the stadium in their shuttle.
— Steve Pastorino (@StevePastorino) April 13, 2018
“At the end of the day, we are all business people. They are investing millions of dollars into downtown, we are investing millions of dollars, the Plaza is investing millions, Zappos is investing millions, so there is a like-mindedness in both execution and thought process.”
As the process evolved, both parties wanted to make sure that no stone was left unturned when it came to making sure everything was on the up and up.
“From the very beginning, there was an understanding of knowing how this needed to be done and how to keep it above board. All the boxes need to be checked to make it mutually beneficial for everyone involved,” said Lashbrook.
Even though from the outside looking in it might seem hard to activate a partnership like this, Lashbrook reassured us that no nefarious business was happening regardless of what people may think.
“They will have signage, intellectual property rights, so there are early discussions into doing co-branded products. With our name being the Lights, there is an obvious tie-in there.”
In the spirit of a true partnership, the Lights will have a presence at NuWu’s 4/20 celebration this weekend.
“They have a very large 4/20 weekend celebration so we will be activating there.”
The multiyear deal may have just begun, but Lashbrook sees unbridled opportunities for both parties.
“I see it only continuing to grow. We are already seeing the players wanting to use the balms and the numbing creams that are super expensive, but are high-quality and approved by WADA.”
Thanks to an unwavering support for their home city, the flexibility to take risks, and the desire to be different, the Las Vegas Lights are quickly becoming an organization others are looking to for inspiration. In true Vegas fashion, that is just how they like it.
“We love being different and being leaders. I understand there is shock value, and an evolution that takes place, but I’m proud that as a club we are taking a leadership position.”