The Olympic torch lighting signifies the start of the games, but when track and field events are underway for the World Athletics Championships this summer at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, a new tradition will spark. The tall tower outside of Hayward Field, long called the “Phildo,” will be lit by officials to indicate the start of track and field events but also to celebrate Eugene’s economic driver: weed.
Officials say the “Hayward Joint” will wrap the community together and help students save on weed money so they can pay for tuition.
“We’ve all shared a marijuana cigarette with our closest school chums, but the Hayward Joint will ensure, as the kids say, no one will bogart this baby,” says UO President Michael Schill. “Rather than throw our O, I figured we should smoke our O, too.”
Here’s how it works, Schill says. Just as the new venue can add stands for large events like the upcoming 2022 track and field world championships, it will also have a roof the university can attach. When the roof is in place, he says, someone will be at the top of the Hayward Joint tower with torches and the roof will close, basically hotboxing those in attendance.
The new Hayward Field was paid for by Nike founder Phil Knight at a cost of $270 million, but the decision to blaze a mountain of weed in the Hayward Joint will generate more business for local restaurants.
Smoking weed can lead to munchies or cottonmouth, says Scarlet Kush, a professor in the UO’s new Cannabis Studies Program. Kush has published articles about cannabis on topics such as how many puffs it takes to get to the end of Dark Side of the Moon and whether munchies are correlation or causation from weed. So Kush says the UO’s decision to increase the number of food and drink venders is a “no-brainer.”
“Whereas someone may normally want one scoop from Prince Puckler’s, we may see that person instead want three scoops,” Kush says.
The Hayward Joint will light up for every major athletic event, including the U.S. Olympic Trials, the Prefontaine Classic and the upcoming World Athletics Championships. Due to international rules and regulations on weed, athletes are barred from inhaling. But white male athletes need not worry — the governing athletic committees that have rules on weed promise to ease restrictions for them.
“We feel it’s harder than ever to be a white male athlete, so if they need to inhale deeply to relax, so be it,” an unnamed official said.
Because of Knight’s lobbying efforts, the OLCC is removing a law that prevents growers and dispensaries from giving weed for free so they can to donate to the Hayward Joint. But many local dispensaries tell Eugene Weekly that they’re participating in the giveaway with the hope that Knight allows them to sponsor UO student-athletes with Names, Image and Likeness deals.
“Imagine how cool it would be to see your favorite Duck quarterback not only hand off the ball to a running back but also hand off a joint in an ad,” says one dispensary owner.
With the UO’s increased tuition hitting future students, Schill says the Hayward Joint will not only save students money but also pack the Hayward Joint with weed that fits with the UO’s colors. “Our colors are green and yellow, and we’ll be packing the green in the Hayward Joint,” he says.