Former NFL Players Discuss Cannabis and Ending the Stigma

At the Cannabis Capital Conference in Toronto, former Detroit Lions players Calvin Johnson and Rob Sims, founders of the cannabis company Primitive, spoke with Benzinga CEO Jason Raznick and discussed the cannabis industry in Michigan, their NFL experiences and ending the stigma around cannabis.

Primitive recently received pre-qualification for a license to open a medical cannabis business in Michigan. Ending the stigma around cannabis is one of the main goals of Primitive, which is achieved by informing the public using education through experience and data, Johnson said. “I have a lot of family members that are totally 100 percent against this, but I know from my experiences, from the pain I dealt with to the products I’ve used like topicals—I know it’s a game changer.”

When asked if the NFL should allow the use of cannabidiol (CBD), Sims said all players should have the opportunity to use it and it should be readily available for players. Johnson said no one should violate the NFL and use CBD right now because the rule could change in the next collective bargaining agreement in 2020.

Sims said his wife Natalie has Crohn’s disease and used to require morphine drips to combat flare-ups but with cannabis in her life, her Crohn’s disease is significantly better. Sims also said he suffered many injuries during his career and was often given various painkillers and told to take them whenever he felt pain. Sims said he could “just imagine” if CBD or other alternative was available to him.

Sims said consumers should expect to see Primitive-brand cannabis flower and other products on shelves by the end of the year. Primitive is already looking to expand into other states and Sims said Johnson’s reputation as an all-time NFL great has helped open doors and build a team.

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