Even as cannabis was becoming normalized in more parts of the country, there was still a deep, lingering stigma that affected the biggest and best of us during the years that Ricky Williams played football (1999-2011). The former Dolphins running back felt overwhelmed by that stigma at times during his career, but he didn’t let it stop him.
On “The Roll Up Podcast,” Williams described how, “My past kept haunting me. People didn’t want to associate with me because of my past with cannabis.” Well he took all the naysaying and criticism and turned it on its head. Now Williams has started his own cannabis brand, “Real Wellness,” which launched in March, and is available at select dispensaries in San Diego and Orange County.
“I am known as a professional football player,” Williams told the Sun Sentinel back in March. “In the last 14 years, I have been educating myself and training as a health care practitioner.” “I realized I was a healer,” he told CNBC Make It back in March, adding that his experience with pain, anxiety put him a unique position where he has “an expertise to offer the world.”
Williams said of the many positive side effects he experienced with cannabis that, “it brought me to the realization that, you know, I’m really good at football, but this really isn’t my path, this isn’t my destiny. There’s something more I’m supposed to do here.”
Cannabis had certainly done plenty for the famous football player. “[It had] turned into something that I would do after workout and after practice to relax. One of the positive side-effects is I started to be more self-reflective and really started to understand myself more.” Which is where his idea to start a cannabis brand was likely born.
In his time with both the Saints and the Dolphins, he admitted to using cannabis throughout for the social anxiety and pains that came with playing. He’d also experimented with marijuana during high school and college, during both youthful times, he said the cannabis also helped him recover from football related injuries.
Aside from the stigma that came with using cannabis, Williams also estimates that he lost out on around $10 million in salary and endorsements for his known use. He hopes that now “Real Wellness” can make back some of that money and that he can bring healing and wellness to the people of Southern California for now. This is definitely a brand to keep an eye on as it potentially expands farther out into the rushing green.