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Making History: Cannabis Cactus puts on the First Ever NBA-Sanctioned Cannabis Event


Photography by Dalton Burkholder and Divine Perspective Studios

On January 6th, 2023, Cannabis Cactus made history with the Phoenix Suns and BellaFlora events, by putting on the first ever event in which the NBA has agreed to work with cannabis brands. 13 teams took to the floor to compete in a double elimination 3-on-3 tournament. It was a fierce competition in which each team played four intense games, with Jeeter ultimately coming in first, Abundant Organics in second, and Trulieve in third. Celebrity coaches included Marshawn Lynch, Paul Pierce, Gary Payton, Derek Fisher, Anthony Dorsett Jr, and Brice Butler, who all flew in to be involved in this epic event. Other celebrities of note, such as Daniel Williams, Anthony Ferraro, and Brandi Fernandez were also in attendance. The event was MC’d by Cannabis Cactus Founder Michael Cassini, and DJ’d by DJ Dean Michaels. The Phoenix Suns dancers and artists Sincerely Collins and Davi Phresh put on an impressive halftime show.

The foyer of the Phoenix Suns Footprint Center was filled with vendors handing out swag, and spectators collecting branded goodies and playing games to win prizes from their favorite cannabis companies. 38 different cannabis inspired brands were involved, along with 450 tickets issued, and an extensive waitlist to this sold-out event. The marquees and jumbotron showcased the best and most well-respected cannabis brands from around the country, many of them official Cannabis Cactus partners.

Anthony Ferraro shooting a blind free throw

Kelly and Anthony Ferraro of the infamous ASF Vision traveled frome New Jersey to be a part of this memorable event, and even participate in play on court. As a blind athlete, Anthony will try any sport, but basketball is quite far from his forte of judo and wrestling. He started off from the free throw line with Derek Fisher as his eyes and ears, listening to taps on the backboard with his sight-seeing cane from his wife Kelly. The first two shots went off the backboard rim, and the third shot was a switch from the free throw line. He followed that up by faking out Marshawn Lynch in the lane, and driving for a succesful layup. These memories were priceless for all of us watching, and I'm sure for Anthony and Kelly. Thank you to Anthony for making the appearance and taking some shots. You miss a 100% of the shots that you don't take, is what we all learned. Cannabis cactus is so proud to share these memories with our favorite partners, friends, and family. Celebrity guest Anthony Dorsett Jr. was commenting on how awesome it was to see past colleagues under such fun circumstances.



The event kicked off the night before with a VIP welcome party sponsored by Abundant Organics, which offered food, drinks, and personalized swag bags and sweatsuits for all of the celebrities and other important guests. An after-party was held at Willie’s Taco’s next door to the stadium, where coaches, players, and spectators enjoyed food and drink to their heart’s content before heading to the Suns and Heat game at the stadium at 8pm.

Paul Pierce with his team from Abundant Organics

The Ring of Honor Suite at the Footprint Center was also sponsored by Abundant Organics, where the party continued as everyone was able to relax by watching basketball after a long day of playing on the very same court. It was an unforgettable 24 hours of making history, promoting legalization of cannabis in professional sports, and showing the world at large that cannabis brands deserve a place in mainstream advertising. The Suns were so impressed by the organization of the event and that players, sponsors, and spectators were so respectfully following federal regulations in regards to cannabis consumption, that we have already been invited back for next year. Thank you so much to everyone that came together to make it happen! This is the first time the NBA has ever agreed to work with cannabis brands, and it certainly won’t be the last.

Gary Payton arguing with the ref

Teams:

1st Place - Jeeter

2nd Place - Abundant Organics

3rd Place - Trulieve

ZZZ’s Rolling Papers

Aristona

Nirvana Center

The Mint

Grow Sciences

Flow Distribution

Aeriz

Timeless

Mohave

MaryJane Smokewear


Special Thank You to our partners, whose promotional consideration make our projects possible.


Brands:

Halo Infusions, Willie’s Tacos, Triton Smoke Shop, Blazy Susan, Lokee, Green Med Wellness, Kush Family Farms, Flowel Mill, Cheba Hut, House Exotics, High Grade, Camino, Jukebox, Drip, Live to Blazy Clothing, Get Lit Electrical, Crown OG, Dutchie, PTS/Tonic, Fohse Lighting, Franzese Wines, Ayr Wellness, Grön, Cann Beverages, GreenPharms, Hippie Chicks, EZJ

Michael Cassini dancing with the Suns girls

After five years, Cannabis Cactus Magazine has produced and distributed over 500,000 magazines and 60 full monthly issues, totaling 4,038 pages. Every article can be found online at cannabiscactus.com or on the Cannabis Cactus mobile app for Apple & Android.


Says Founder and Editor-in-Chief Michael Cassini, “Printing magazines on very expensive machines is not like a podcast or social media page. There is no ability to edit the magazine once it's printed. Our staff takes care and priority to curate the best education, entertainment, and cannabis news for our readers. I spent every penny that I had saved at that point to start Cannabis Cactus Magazine, but it was the best decision I have ever made. My previous jobs provided income, but I wanted a deeper purpose, which I have always found by helping people access cannabis medicine. Along with the best cannabis partners, we have been able to help the community in many ways over the past five years, and are thankful to be able to use this event and many more to raise funds for our 501c3, so that we can continue to do just that”.


Thank you to our partners Hendy Glass for this amazing glass piece to commemorate a long and unspoken relationship between cannabis medicine and NBA players. Thank you to Davi Phresh and the Phoenix Suns dancers for performing his song “Rara” during an amazing halftime show. This made the tournament feel like being at an actual NBA home game.


Stay tuned for more Cannabis Cactus 3on3!


With Gratitude,

Heidi Keyes, Michael Cassini, Gloria Govan.



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