At the Arc View Group Investor Forum held recently in Portland, Oregon, NBA all-star Cliff Robinson introduced investors and entrepreneurs to his latest venture Uncle Spliffy. With this enterprise, Robsinon intends to make moves off the court through the creation of a “Sports Cannabis” market.
Robinson reflects how cannabis has always been his medicine of choice, a decision that caused him to become stigmatized for this use. “My new business is how I want to to take something that’s been a negative in my life, and make it into a positive and make sure that it doesn’t happen to any other athlete who comes after me.”
With Uncle Spliffy, Robinson plans to utilize the latest in sports science and to create products that will assist athletes in preparation, relaxation and recovery. In addition to targeting professional athletes, Robinson hopes to reach out to active lifestyle enthusiasts who do not wish to take prescription medications and creams for pain suffered as a result of their participation in recreational activities. Initially, Uncle Spliffy will focus on five products, a salve, drink, joint package, energy bar and apparel with plans to add additional products as the business expands.
Two NFL players, Ricky Williams and Eugene Monroe were also present at this conference and spoke about how cannabis helped them deal with the physical, emotional and psychological aspects of being a professional athlete. According to Monroe, who currently plays offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, “Cannabis is a product that should be important for the NFL to deal with many of its healthcare issues. The science shows it can heal many of the ailments that all professional athletes alike deal with on a daily basis In the sport of football, there’s a great deal of physicality which inherently brings on a great deal of chronic pain and chronic injuries.”
Retired NFL player Ricky Williams notes. “As far as finding the safest thing for helping athletes deal with inflammation and pain, I think cannabis is effective and safer than the addictive opiates that teams give us.” Monroe adds, “People may claim they don’t want players to get high by using cannabis but what do you think happens when you prescribe a player Ambien, Oxycotin or any other powerful pain medicines that are altering people’s state of minds and causing them to become addicted?”
Robinson states that before they can get cannabis products into a team’s locker room, they first need to talk about lessening the penalties. As Monroe observes, “It is absurd that any player in professional or collegiate sports is punished for consumption of marijuana. It is also absurd that the punishment for the use of marijuana is more detrimental to a player’s life and career than charges of domestic violence, animal abuse or a DUI. Once your’e tested positive for cannabis, it’s a huge negative problem.”
According to Williams, the largest barrier here remains public opinion. “The NFL being a large business depends on fan support and it’s important for them to listen to their fans and follow public opinion. As public opinion changes and cannabis use becomes more socially acceptable, I think this barrier can be overcome.”
Currently, the NHL does not test their players for marijuana though the NBA and NFL continue to test players. Once the penalties are lessened, Robinson believes they can start a conversation about cannabis. It’s really about education, trying to educate the leagues on what’s exactly out there in terms of the research of what this drug can do instead of thinking it’s about the THC high.”
Ultimately, Robinson’s goal is to see Uncle Spiffy products in every locker room in professional sports, as well as being a brand that athletes and active lifestyle enthusiasts have in their medicine cabinets everywhere. He reflects, “I think we can agree that cannabis is a miracle medicine and we can be the ones to change the game for the better moving forward.”