The day after July 4th, Independence Day.
Sun-kissed noses with symmetrical tan lines sans facemasks for the first time in over a year.
Stomachs and hearts full from indulging in grilled foods, ice-cold drinks, and the wistful laughter of great friends catching up.
Bodies warm and buzzing from fireworks as a modern-day semblance of American patriotism.
Phone maybe still on silent. Laptops closed. Ready to enjoy the observed holiday off.
A global pandemic trailing off into certain uncertainty.
A global Olympics trailing ahead into uncertain certainty on the biggest platform in the world.
And in the heart of it, a young black female athlete and cannabis have created rumbles.
“I am Human.”
Real words from Olympic competitor Sha’Carri Richardson, who has effectively been eliminated from competition because of a poor decision to consume cannabis as a coping mechanism in the loss of her biological mother. Who may never again have the opportunity to complete her life’s work because of outdated drug policies. Who may never feel the weight of an Olympic medal around her neck because of the weight that society placed on her shoulders to be more than simply human.
These rumbles are the creation of a movement where every person and company needs to step up to bat and truly decide where they stand in support this 6-headed dragon. If you are currently working in/adjacent to the cannabis industry, are you ready to answer spitball questions from people just tuning in? The same questions that our grandparents ask about the health benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids will now be asked by international sports officials, sports reporters, and Olympic bystanders from around the world and the question is: Are you ready?
No matter which section of cannabis you’re involved in: policy, health, science, technology, law, or operations, the platform is now ours. When everyday citizens of the public open the news to headlines like “Sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson Tested Positive For Cannabis.” They might be scratching their heads. The next logical step is to grab their phone and ask you, the cannabis expert, the tougher questions. Why is this bad? Why are there still laws banning this substance from being used? Can cannabis be used as a performance enhancing tool? Who’s in charge of making these rules? Didn’t I hear about something similar about Olympians Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt a few years ago?
In the news recently, behemoth companies took small steps towards the normalization of cannabis consumption. In the beginning of June, Amazon relaxed their stance on pre-employment cannabis testing policies. The National Football League (NFL) and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) is committing $1 million to cannabis research. Apple is just now allowing cannabis apps on their platform paving the path to success for startup’s like Tetragram, a minority owned company helping medical cannabis patients track their personal consumption habits.
With so much at stake for the future, the real test will be from paid company sponsors like Nike, that currently represent Sha’Carri Richardson and other world-renowned athletes. They’ve come out in public support of Sha’Carri, but will they use this as an opportunity to reach other professional athletes that have openly admitted to consuming cannabis during their active careers? Athletes currently in the cannabis space like Al Harrington, Matt Barnes, Ricky Williams, Greta Gaines, and Anna Symonds have vocalized their journey with cannabis and its effects on pain management, recovery, and achieving the “flow state” of a high-performing athletic mindset. Will this opportunity be used to collectively bring scientists, healthcare professionals, lawyers, and policymakers into the mix to make meaningful change with their audience reach? They have the power to turn this rumble into a ground-shattering earthquake.
Your move, Nike. The world is literally watching.