Five former pros who are now fighting for cannabis access for all.
Former basketball player Cliff Robinson played for 18 seasons in the NBA, starting in 1989 for the Portland Trail Blazers. Throughout his stellar career – which included stints for the Detroit Pistons and the Golden State Warriors – Robinson used cannabis to relax and help cope with his career related anxiety.
Despite weed being a banned substance, it helped Robinson to deal with the immense pressure that built up pre-game, and also allowed him to relax and calm down afterwards. And although he was suspended three times as a result, Robinson never stopped using cannabis.
After leaving the NBA in 2007, Robinson became an advocate for marijuana legalization. And when cannabis was legalized in Oregon in 2015, Robinson returned to Portland, the city that had hosted his first 8 years as a pro, to join Oregon’s cannabis community. Now known as “Uncle Spliffy”, Cliff Robinson has his own cannabis store and product line.
Dr. Julie Anthony
Julie Anthony was a professional tennis player who competed in both the French and US Opens, and also at Wimbledon during the 1970s.
Embodying the term “scholar-athlete”, Anthony actually earned her Ph.D. while competing in the women’s pro circuit. After receiving her doctorate in clinical psychology, Dr. Anthony would go on to become a highly regarded sports psychologist following her athletic career.
Furthermore, Dr. Anthony is a founding member of Athletes for CARE, a group that advocates for athletes on various matters of health and safety, including the use of cannabis as a medicine.
The former offensive lineman spent seven years in the NFL, playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens, before retiring in 2016.
Eugene Monroe became the first active NFL player to openly advocate for medical cannabis use to treat sports-related injury and chronic pain. In a New York Times Op-Ed, Monroe called on the NFL to stop testing players for cannabis, citing its potential as a safer alternative to more commonly prescribed opioids.
His post-NFL career has been dedicated to raising awareness about the medical benefits of cannabis as a member of Athletes for CARE. He also uses his personal website to continue to call on the NFL “to remove marijuana from the banned substances list; fund medical marijuana research, especially as it relates to CTE [a brain disease that’s the result of multiple traumatic brain injuries]; and stop overprescribing addictive and harmful opioids”.
Liz Carmouche is a mixed martial arts fighter from Louisiana and also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. After her start in Strikeforce, Carmouche joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2013 where she participated in the first ever women’s UFC fight, and is still active today. OK, she’s not a former athlete just yet, but she definitely deserves a mention.
Carmouche uses CBD to heal faster and to train harder, applying topicals and salves immediately after workouts to relieve pain and inflammation. She has been an outspoken advocate of the benefits of CBD for health and fitness, and has teamed up with HempMeds to spread awareness on the therapeutic benefits of CBD for athletes and those looking to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.
Riley Cote is a former professional ice hockey player and coach. He was introduced to medical cannabis at an early age by his sister, who used it to treat the symptoms of her multiple sclerosis (MS). Throughout his NHL career playing for the Philadelphia Flyers, Cote used cannabis to treat pain, ease pre-game anxiety, and help him recover more quickly.
After his retirement in 2010, Cote founded the HempHeals Foundation to help educate the public on the nutritional and industrial benefits of hemp, and is also a co-founder of Athletes for CARE.
These five athletes have been making a difference by publicly “coming out” as cannabis consumers and helping to educate the public on the medical benefits of the plant. But they’re not the only ones playing for team green! Who are your favorite athletes advocating for cannabis access for all? Let us know!