It truly is a sign of the times that we now have a professional race car sponsored by a marijuana grower and distributor. Shango Premium Cannabis, a company based in Oregon with stores there and in Las Vegas, is the title sponsor of Danny George and his new E36 BMW M3 drift car, which replaces his old Chevy LS V8-powered Miata. George will compete in the 2017 Formula Drift season.
The sponsorship is appropriate in a number of ways. For one thing, this is a motorsport where smoke is desirable and earns points. Not only that, but George is a Las Vegas native, which ties in nicely with Shango’s large Las Vegas facility. There’s also the fact that George’s birthday is April 20, or 4/20, and anything associated with “420” is significant in cannabis culture. Because of this, it’s no surprise that the car will make its public debut at the Shango store in Las Vegas on April 20.
Even though the entry of marijuana into motorsports sponsorship may be surprising to some, it actually is less remarkable than some past sponsorships. In NASCAR, we’ve seen a car sponsored by digital currency Dogecoin (think Bitcoin but themed after the Doge). The sport also featured a surprisingly overt political livery supporting Donald Trump. In contrast, Shango’s sponsorship and livery is professional and classy. It should also get extra points for not going with a stereotypical green color scheme. Besides, Shango won’t be the first purveyor of mind-altering substances to sponsor a racecar. Budweiser, Martini, and many alcohol companies have been at it for decades – and for a long time so were tobacco companies.