Red Sox Hall of Famer David Ortiz Is Taking a Swing at Maine's Legal Weed Market
Many, many athletes have launched their own weed brands, but Ortiz could be the first to introduce an out-of-state brand into Maine's tiny adult-use market.
Published on March 14, 2023

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Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer David Ortiz is bringing his legal weed brand to Maine's modest marijuana market next month. 

Ortiz' Papi Cannabis brand just announced a new partnership with JAR Cannabis Co., a legal cannabis company that has been serving Maine's medical marijuana market since 2012. Under the new partnership, JAR will begin selling Ortiz' Sweet Sluggers blunts at its locations in Newry, Portland, South Portland, and Windham next month. The pre-rolled 1 gram blunts will be sold for $18 each, or $50 for a three pack.

The new venture may be a bit of a gamble, given the slow pace of Maine's legal weed market. Last year, Maine's adult-use market only racked up $159 million in total sales. That's less than Michigan's recreational pot shops sell during a single month. Maine was actually one of the first Northeastern states to legalize weed, but interference from conservative lawmakers blocked legal sales from beginning until late 2020.

But despite the slow start, the state's legal weed market is still growing fast. Last year's modest annual total is still almost double the $82 million that adult-use shops sold in 2021. And although over 93% of the state's municipalities have banned legal pot shops from opening on their turf, regulators have launched a plan to encourage more towns to opt in to the industry. Maine law also used to block out-of-state businesses like Papi Cannabis from setting up shop in the state, but a federal judge recently ruled that this law is unconstitutional.

Ortiz, a three-time World Series winner who is affectionately known to local fans as Big Papi, launched his legal weed brand in Massachusetts last year. Papi Cannabis, formed in partnership with Massachusetts-licensed cannabis producer Rev Brands, has been selling its Sweet Sluggers blunts in a variety of local dispensaries since then. The new partnership with JAR Cannabis marks the company's first venture outside of Massachusetts, though.

“Once I embraced the flow of the flower everything changed,” Ortiz said in a statement last year, Time Out reports. “Cannabis has helped me relax, sleep better, manage stress and heal physically after a lifetime of playing ball, and I look forward to sharing Papi Cannabis and my personal journey to help people understand its benefits.”

Athlete-endorsed weed brands are pretty common these days, but most of these brands are helmed by football and basketball players like Jim McMahon, Ricky Williams, Al Harrington, and Allen Iverson. In comparison, relatively few baseball players have gotten into the weed game. But now that Major League Baseball officials are chilling out about weed, that might change. The MLB stopped drug testing its players for weed in 2019, and adopted Charlotte's Web as its official CBD brand last year.

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Chris Moore
Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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