Former NFL star turned medical marijuana advocate and entrepreneur will host Denver-area golf tournament next week

Ricky Williams, the former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL star, told an Arcview Group Investor Forum audience last month in Oakland that he wouldn’t have won the Heisman Trophy with the University of Texas in 1998 without the help of cannabis.

Williams’ cannabis use led to multiple suspensions throughout his professional career. He briefly retired from football in 2004 after multiple positive marijuana tests resulted in a four-game suspension (which is a quarter of the NFL season) and a $650,000 fine. Williams ended up sitting out all of the 2004 NFL season. He was suspended for the entire 2006 season after his fourth positive test, before resuming his career the next year and retiring for good in 2012.

RickyWilliams_ArcView_Oakland_6.20.16Now Williams is using his history with the plant to his advantage, becoming a marijuana advocate and entrepreneur involved in the rapidly growing legal cannabis industry. The former running back has made appearances this year at several industry events geared toward entrepreneurs and investors.

Williams plans to open the world’s first cannabis gym before the end of the year in San Francisco, teaming with snowboard company executive Jim McAlpine to create Power Plant Fitness. The one-of-a-kind gym will allow members to consume cannabis while working out, and will also offer edibles and topicals for those who prefer not to smoke.

While it may sound counterintuitive to the uninitiated, marijuana can be an incredibly beneficial tool for athletes. It can help as a focusing agent and motivator for exercise, improving performance and allowing athletes to “get in the zone.” With its many anti-inflammatory properties, cannabis can also benefit athletes as a post-workout pain reliever. So while Williams’ new venture may be novel, he’s tapped into something with enormous potential and he isn’t the only famous athlete getting into the business.

Cliff Robinson, a longtime NBA player who was suspended multiple times for his cannabis use during his career, has started what he claims is the first “sports cannabis” brand in the world. Uncle Spliffy Sports Cannabis is an Oregon company innovating marijuana designed for athletes. Robinson believes sports cannabis will become the third largest market in the cannabis space behind recreational and medical marijuana.

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Williams will be in Colorado, the epicenter of the marijuana legalization movement, this Monday, July 11, to host The Ricky Williams Laurel Rosebud Golf Invitational. Williams partnered with The Laurel RoseBud Fund, a nonpartisan public policy organization, for the golf tournament, with proceeds going toward helping end prohibition. The event will be held at the Omni Interlocken Golf Course in Broomfield, CO, with registration on the day of the event at 12 p.m., and tee times beginning at 1:30 p.m.

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