We know that more and more athletes are turning to cannabis for pain relief and injury recovery across sports. Instead of addictive opioids and narcotics, many NFL players have opted to using cannabis to treat their symptoms, with one former player estimating that almost 90 percent of the league uses marijuana. “I think 85 percent of the league smoked,” said one former NBA player on basketball players using cannabis.
Athlete consumption of cannabis is prevalent enough the sports website Bleacher Report declared “The World’s Best Athletes Smoke Weed.” The World Anti-Doping Agency announced that Olympians could use pure CBD to enhance recovery and pain management, though tradition marijuana was banned because, in WADA’s view, cannabis can be considered a “performance-enhancing” drug.
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But what about athletes operating in the cannabis industry? Until recently, stigmas and lack of opportunity have limited the biggest names in sports from going green. Thanks to loosening cultural attitudes and many former players speaking out about cannabis, that’s started change over the past few years. Here’s just some of the sports names getting into cannabis.
Just this week the Indianapolis Star called Al Harrington a “marijuana tycoon.” Why? Well because of his Viola brand, a vertically integrated cannabis company named after Harrington’s grandma. According to the Star, Harrington is about to raise funding for a $100 million valuation.
The four-time Super Bowl winner revealed his business interest in a big way. Montana is part of a $75 million investment in the cannabis brand Caliva. Montana’s involvement was through his venture capital firm, but he said he was investing in an industry he thinks “can provide relief to many people and can make a serious impact on opioid use or addiction.”
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The athlete perhaps most associated with cannabis finally turned his advocacy into business action. Last year, Ricky Williams founded Real Wellness brand, a line of products that infuses cannabis with holistic and Eastern medicinal practices. “Cannabis has played an important part in my healing journey, and I feel a responsibility to share what I have learned in the process,” Williams said.
At the end of 2018, Michigan denied Calvin Johnson’s bid for his marijuana business operation. But Johnson received pre-approval by the state board to open his own medical marijuana dispensary. “”Calvin is grateful and looks forward to operating with his brand Primitive in this new venture,” Johnson said through his attorney. “He’s hoping to have a big presence in the state.”