Editor's note: This column has been updated to provide attribution to original sources.

Peyton Manning became a franchisee for Papa John's Pizza, signing a deal to own 21 stores in the Denver area in 2012, the same day the pizza maker also announced it had signed a multiyear contract to continue as the official pizza of the NFL and the Super Bowl.

"There's some different laws out here in Colorado," Manning said to Sports Illustrated, referring to the bill to legalize marijuana that passed that same year. "Pizza business is pretty good out here, believe it or not, due to some recent law changes. So when you come to a different place, you've kind of got to learn everything that comes with it."

Soon after he became a franchise owner, Manning stared in a commercial stating that he now gets to give away free pizzas. He also gave fans information about how to become franchise owners themselves. "He's the kind of partner we're looking for, not only in marketing but in business," Papa John's chief marketing officer Andrew Varga told the Associated Press. "The pizza category is fun. You throw Peyton into that mix with the NFL platform and it makes it easy to execute lighthearted commercials that are very much in character for both."

"It's a smart investment now and will be long after I'm done playing football," Manning said to AP.

Some pizzerias are not just capitalizing on increased food sales to marijuana users, but they're also creating specialty pizzas that will feature it as an ingredient: Unique Pizza & Subs, a Colorado pizzeria, has developed a Marijuana Pizza made with cannabis-infused sauce, that will be sold at adult bars and clubs. "With these figures alone it would seem safe to conclude that marijuana does indeed help sales," according to an article on Pizza Oven. "As the pizza industry is synonymous with marijuana usage I think it is safe to assume that combining pizza with marijuana is a profitable idea."

Published on: May 31, 2017