When it comes to marijuana, the National Football League (NFL) has never been one to welcome the plant with open arms. However, last April, the league revealed it will no longer test players for THC during the off-season (April 20 to August 9).
This approach is a massive shift from more severe repercussions in the past. Former stars such as Josh Gordon and Ricky Williams had their careers dramatically impacted by the consequences of positive cannabis tests.
As the plant becomes more and more destigmatized, active and inactive players are taking part in the legal industry and defying the league’s long-held reputation as the “No Fun League.”
All-time greats like Marshawn Lynch, Calvin Johnson, Joe Montana, Rob Gronkowski, and Brett Favre have all joined the cannabis industry as investors, endorsers, and even owners of legal marijuana businesses.
Outside of the NFL, other professional athletes like Kevin Durant are also investing in the cannabis industry. Rapper and cannabis icon Snoop Dogg said in an interview earlier in the year that he believes professional athletes should be allowed to consume marijuana instead of opioids.
According to Leafly, the following gridiron stars are proud supporters of the plant’s recovery and pain management benefits. Amid the season, we came up with a list of former and current players in the marijuana industry.
Four-time Super Bowl champion Joe Montana is highly regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He is also involved with a venture capital firm that made a hefty investment into the legal marijuana industry.
The firm invested $75 million into a marijuana dispensary, Caliva; however, it is unknown how much came from the Hall Of Fame quarterback. In 2017 he was part of a $4.1 million investment in a marijuana media company called Herb. Joe sees the green possibilities in the green rush.
McMahon suffered multiple concussions and was diagnosed with early-onset dementia. The former Chicago Bears quarterback called the plant a godsend for the relief it gave from the lasting pain of his 15-year football career.
Marshawn is a massive lover of Skittle candy and cannabis, which is why he is the sole owner of his diamond-infused blunt brand, Dodi Blunts. Not only is Lynch the owner of the blunt company, but he is also considered the lab rat and marketing team for operation.
Even though he retired from the league while still in his prime, after a slew of suspensions for cannabis use, he eventually returned and performed at the top level for his position. The Heisman Trophy winner has started a marijuana company, Highsman. He aims to use the company to continue to fight the negative stigma that impacted his career.
Johnson finished his Hall of Fame career early after cementing himself as one of the greatest to play receiver. While he often smoked marijuana after games to help relieve his pain, Calvin has taken his respect and love for cannabis into business with this Primitiv company, alongside his former teammate Rob Sims. The cannabis company looks to grow high-quality cannabis and help the plant gain appreciation instead of stigmatization, especially by sports leagues.
This short-tempered quickster destroyed every stereotype of the slow and lazy stoner when he revealed that he played every NFL game under the influence of marijuana. His affinity for consuming cannabis never negatively impacted his performance. Harvin was a crucial part of Florida University’s 2006 and 2008 championship season and the Seattle Seahawks 2013 Super Bowl victory.
Eugene deems himself as the first active NFL player to support marijuana to help alleviate the pain associated with playing football. Due to head trauma, Monroe retired from the league at 29. Now he uses his first-hand experiences to speak on how marijuana can change the life of athletes dealing with these problems.
The National Football League Players Association developed a committee to analyze pain management amongst players in 2016. Peers have knighted Monroe as a founding member.
This former All-Pro now owns a marijuana dispensary in Moreno Valley, California. During his career, he faced suspension due to a positive cannabis test and has been outspoken about the “horrific” side effects of pharmaceuticals for players who were not allowed to consume marijuana for pain relief.
The former O-linemen now hosts the “Hotboxing” podcast with boxing legend Mike Tyson, where marijuana vapor is constantly floating in the air. The two former professional athletes speak candidly with guests about cannabis’s beneficial effects on their bodies and lives.
After his illustrious college and professional career, Washington became an investor, doing business with many marijuana companies. He also advocated for numerous righteous causes spanning from a lawsuit filed against the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to call for marijuana to be taken off the Schedule 1 drug list to the Last Prisoner Project.
Irving was suspended in 2019 from the league for a positive marijuana test and abruptly left the game of football. While many believed he couldn’t handle his vice, Irving was determined to stick to his beliefs.
“I gave up football for a bigger cause. I want to change the bias toward marijuana,” Irving said in an interview with Sports Illustrated.
He concluded, “The real reason I’m not in the NFL is that I’d rather be out here saving lives.”
Irving currently has several marijuana products, including Cannabis Passport, a newspaper with 100 rollings papers, giving you reading and rolling material.
Lawrence Taylor is regarded as one of the greatest linebackers of all time and was known for his unrelenting style of play on and off the field. The Hall of Fame linebacker now works with marijuana with PotNetworking Holding INC. Formerly known as the master of pain, Lawrence Taylor is now trying to relieve players’ aches and pains with “LT Master Pain” CBD oil.
Unlike some of his football contemporaries, Tatupu admits he didn’t start consuming marijuana til after his NFL career. Tatupu made the Pro Bowl his first three seasons and was voted All-Pro once during that period. Tatupu created a CBD startup called “ZoneIn,” and gives credit to CBD for dramatically changing his post-football life after dealing with the after-effects of sustaining multiple concussions and surgeries.
The outspoken tight end went on record, expressing that 90% of the NFL are marijuana consumers. He even posted a video on social media of him enjoying the plant. Bennet says he has invested in some marijuana companies and has plans to open his dispensary with plenty of child-resistant containers filled with different strains of cannabis.
The Dallas Cowboys sensation is known as “Primetime” has been an incredibly supportive voice for marijuana reform. He advocates including CBD access for athletes and mass presidential pardons for all non-violent marijuana offenders.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good kicker. Along with Chris Kluwe’s ability to be clutch in the fourth and twenty situations, his advocacy for marijuana over pills most likely played a role in the league’s recent adjustment to testing and punishment for marijuana. It raised the threshold and lowered sentences for positive tests.