A look at NFL greats now in the marijuana industry

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Several football pros have switched gears and are now into cannabis

As football fans get ready for NFL Super Bowl LIII this Sunday, this seems like a good opportunity to tie in the sport with marijuana. The NFL has always had a drug abuse problem (71% of 644 players surveyed by ESPN acknowledged that they misuse opioids), even if officials aren’t always willing to admit it, and the officials don’t seem to grasp what most players – and the general public – know. Marijuana use reduces addiction to big pharma-produced painkillers. Several players have used their knowledge on marijuana to get into the marijuana game and have gone on to be involved with a number of successful companies.

Eugene Monroe was playing for the Baltimore Ravens until he publicly admitted to using marijuana in 2016, leading to his contract with the team being terminated. He went on to work for Green Thumb Industries, a medical marijuana cultivation and dispensary company out of Chicago, as the firm’s Diversity Consultant.

Tiki Barber retired from the New York Giants in 2007 and moved into a broadcasting role with NBC. He co-founded a sports marketing firm and then, last year, co-founded Grove Group Management, an investment firm based in Vancouver that focuses on North American cannabis startup companies. He told CNN, “The more quickly we can get cannabis legalized federally, the better off athletes will be. [It’s a] matter of inevitability.”

Marvin Washington is now the VP of Business Development for Isodiol International, Inc. Previously, he spent 11 years in the NFL and has always been a proponent of legalized marijuana. He seems to never run out of energy and is also on the board of directors for ISO-Sport and Athletes for Care. He has also been actively involved in negotiations with the NFL Players Association, assisting in efforts to get the group to change its policies on drug use.

Ricky Williams was forced out of the NFL in 2004 after he tested positive for marijuana. He made a return the following year and finally hung his cleats in 2011. Since, he has become a herbalist and healer and launched Real Wellness last year. Through a partnership with OutCo, he has been behind the creation of four new formulas that are available for vape cartridges, salves and tonics.

Most recently, Joe Montana stepped into the marijuana space when his venture capital firm, Liquid 2 Ventures, invested in Caliva. Caliva is a cannabis company based in California that operates across several cannabis market segments.