For years, weed has been linked to laziness, a reputation that is both fair and unfair. Sure, some strains do induce a care-free idleness that makes one shrug their shoulders upon noticing the kitchen’s on fire, but other strains energize the body and mind. They also help people, especially athletes, work out: potbellies? Try abs of steel.
But, while weed will never replace Gatorade as the thing that’s dumped on the winning coach of the Super Bowl, it does appear to have a place in sports. This is especially true in regards to its medicinal benefits: it has the potential to replace opioids for pain control.
Professional athletes in a variety of leagues are onto this and many have begun to campaign for removal of cannabis restrictions. Many argue that more dangerous drugs – things like Vicodin and Percocet – are handed out as if they’re candy while cannabis – a plant – is never allowed to have its day in the sun.
In all likelihood, there’s probably a large number of athletes who secretly endorse marijuana, but their ability to speak up is often restricted by endorsement deals, contracts, and other repercussions. But some athletes have taken the reins. Many are retired and therefore untouchable – dancing in front of the league with a neener neener – and comfortable with advocating for what they believe in.
Some of Bud’s More Vocal Athlete Friends Include:
Ricky Williams: Williams was a highly-touted college running back whose professional career was marred by marijuana, something he used to cope with social anxiety disorder. After failing a fourth drug test, Williams moved on from the NFL and further into the world of THC.
According to SB Nation, he’s opening the first cannabis gym in San Francisco: Power Plant Fitness.
Here gym rats can experience a cannabis high with their runner’s high. However, it’s not a gym where stoners can expect to smoke up and laze around – it takes athletics and cannabis seriously and offers an assessment to determine how well weed meshes with an individual’s workout regime.
Jim McMahon: McMahon has turned into a vocal supporter of marijuana, claiming it’s helped him with all sorts of things: dementia, depression, speech problems, and pain. He told the Chicago Tribune that cannabis helped him get off narcotic pain relievers, claiming “medical marijuana has been a godsend.” Makes sense, since we all sort of felt like we’d smoked up when watching the music video for the Super Bowl shuffle…or maybe we just wished we had.
Eugene Monroe: Monroe had the guts to advocate for marijuana while still in the league. As an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, he went on record voicing his anger at the league for their closed-minded cannabis views. Then he backed it up:
He donated 80,000 dollars to When the Bright Lights Fade (which funds research on medical marijuana and athletes)
The Ravens didn’t seem to like what he had to say: they released him and noted his marijuana views on the team website. Monroe announced his retirement and dove into his continued pursuit of passion. In a statement he said, “I will never stop pushing for the league to accept medical cannabis as a viable option for pain management.”
Jake Plummer: Plummer played for my beloved Broncos and even led us to the AFC Championship game in 2006 (and that’s the last thing I’ll say about that). He’s now an advocate for marijuana, particularly CBD (Charlotte’s Web to be exact). He used it to combat post-playing career pain, telling Fox Sports, “What happens is we love to take care of the players when they’re playing. But when we get done and after the five years of insurance runs out, these guys are strung out.” Plummer has repeatedly endorsed CBD as a pain reliever.
When serving as a guest writer for the Sport’s Illustrated column “Monday Morning Quarterback” he used some computer screen-time to talk about his advocacy.
Ross Rebagliati: While it might seem that smoking pot is almost a prerequisite to professional snowboarding, the officials at the 1998 Winter Olympics weren’t amused by Rebagliati’s positive drug test: after winning the gold medal it was taken away from him. But not for long: his disqualification was overturned because cannabis wasn’t on the list of banned substances. He went on to start a medical cannabis company, Ross’ Gold. Located in British Columbia, it focuses on medical marijuana benefits as they relate to stress, injury, and pain.
Floyd Landis: Landis is known for winning the 2006 Tour de France and then having his title stripped after he tested positive for a banned substance (really, who in professional biking doesn’t take synthetic testosterone?). He did eventually ditch the fake drugs for the natural ones: he founded Floyd’s of Leadville, a Colorado marijuana business with a focus on cannabis grown at high altitudes. Leadville’s altitude is over 10,000 feet, in case you were wondering. That’s nearly twice as high as Denver’s.
Bill Walton: Back in his playing days, Walton’s appearance often left people to assume he was a consumer of cannabis: he fit the part (and maybe the pipe). While he’s never come out and said whether he did or did not inhale, he’s been vocal about his distaste for the War on Drugs. He was quoted as saying,
(It) has been an absolute failure across the board
Somebody’s got to step forward and we’re looking for Obama to step up. Why are we punishing people for things that are legal? Why are people languishing in jail for things that are legal?” Per Huffington Post, he’s also called for the declassification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug and for amnesty to offenders.
Even people who aren’t pro-marijuana should be able to see his point. Some marijuana “offenders” are given ridiculous sentences while people convicted of more serious crimes – rape or assault – get off with probation. It doesn’t make much sense, not from a legal standpoint or a common one.