The relationship between marijuana and professional sports has become increasingly complicated as legalization spreads throughout the U.S. Some leagues, like Major League Baseball, have relatively lax policies regarding cannabis, while others, like the National Football League, are vehemently against use for any reason.
Now, the racing organization NASCAR, which relies heavily on advertising dollars from giant logos on the company’s cars and drivers, has taken a clear stand against the cannabis industry. On Friday, driver Carl Long rolled into the Kansas Speedway with a surprising sponsorship from the Denver marijuana vaping company Veedverks.
According to a NASCAR spokesperson, the sponsorship was never vetted or approved by the racing organization, and the advertisement was promptly removed after it was discovered during a tech inspection. Although NASCAR failed to offer a reason for why they denied the sponsorship, Section 7.6.2.a of the rule book states:
“NASCAR may refuse to permit a Competitor to participate in an Event if NASCAR determines that any advertising, sponsorship, or similar agreement to which the Competitor is or will be a party, is detrimental to the sport, to NASCAR, Series Sponsor, or to the Promoter for any reason, including without limitation, the public image of the sport.”
This weekend’s race was Long’s first time returning to NASCAR’s top series in almost a decade. The controversial driver was barred from professional racing for failing to pay a $200,000 fine back in 2009. The penalty was originally levied on Long for using an oversized engine during a race, and eventually led to a eight-year suspension.
Nonetheless, his long-awaited return has proved to be a controversial one, as the Veedverks logo on the hood of his No. 66 car has been unsubtly blotted out from public view. It doesn’t seem like the nixed cannabis advert will impact Long’s NASCAR return, but it does display how the professional racing organization feels about the nation’s budding cannabis industry.