Whereas last week’s colum offered a brief overview of celebrities’ long, colorful history with the cannabis plant, this week we’ll meet some celebrities who have more recently attached their brands to the stuff. With marijuana being legalized for medical and/or recreational use from coast to coast, in pretty much every ballot proposition presented to voters, the doors of its public perception are swinging open so fast, you’d think no-knock warrants were being served.
With these changing attitudes and legal boundaries being reconfigured daily, investment capital has come flooding into the industry. Corporate America and small business alike are rushing to exploit the next big boom market. Case in point: one Joseph Clifford “Joe” Montana Jr., aka “Joe Cool,” the legendary football player who embodied the ’80s and bodied elite defenses for 15 years as signal-caller for the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs. Until the rise of Tom Brady, Montana was (and, in some circles, still is) widely considered the greatest and most successful quarterback in NFL history, winning four Super Bowls and making the All-Pro team in two different decades.
Since Montana’s retirement in 1994, the two-time league MVP has also emerged as the most valuable player to advocate marijuana use among his peers. His squeaky-clean image has helped galvanize public response to a rapidly growing movement to sack the NFL’s current cannabis embargo, which denies toking rights even to those players living in states where it’s legal. He’s putting his money where his mouth is, literally, by investing in two different cannabis-related startups. First, he was part of a $4.1 million buy-in to Herb, a THC-themed entertainment group, which has plenty of material. Now he and his partners have put a whopping $75 million into Caliva, a full-on growing operation, which has plenty of materiel. While Montana himself has never openly admitted any personal affinity for the product, the question is easily answered by looking at any random photograph of him.
Weed and wrestling have been virtually synonymous for decades, dating back to guys like “Ravishing” Rick Rude, The Iron Sheik and, most famously, Hulk Hogan. WWE currently bans its use by full-time employees, but they don’t drug-test the audience, which is a good thing, since the promotion is not really something that adults can stand to watch sober. The wrestling franchise offered a nod and a wink to the new reality just last week, however, via WWE Champion Daniel Bryan. Voted PETA’s “Most Animal-Friendly Athlete” back in 2012, his character is committed to reducing waste and commercialism in society–so of course he’s a heel. Because wrestling is ridiculous. Bryan’s most recent act of villainy: dropping the prestigious, bejeweled, gold-and-leather championship belt (made from a “slaughtered cow” he named “Daisy”) into the trash and replacing it with a custom-made title fashioned from hemp fiber and wood. It’s been two days, and I’m still laughing as I write this; I may need to see a doctor about that. The strap itself went viral, especially after insiders noted that, due to the vagaries of machine-tools, his politically correct version of the belt probably cost at least double what the original did, which is something with which medical marijuana customers in Florida can probably empathize.
WWE isn’t selling replicas yet, but the line to buy one is almost as long as the line of wrestlers trying to get themselves fired so they can go sign with Tony Khan’s new AEW promotion, which does not drug-test.
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