Mat Nash-Cruz

Staying At Home With Cannabis

Cannabis, with its inherent ability to offer therapeutic side-effects, can be a powerful tool during your time in quarantine. Although we are aching to get back outside, it does not mean we aren’t aching while we are inside! Now is a great time to integrate self-care routines and focus on naturally combating feelings of anxiety and depression or simply focusing on incorporating healthier habits into your lifestyle.
Cannabis use can be beneficial during times of stress. There are plenty of ways to use it and we have more time at-home to try incorporating new elements into our self-care routines. This guide is a list of products that will naturally combat negative feelings we may be experiencing and gives us a variety of ways to medicate.
It’s very important to understand that everyone’s self-care routines with cannabis are going to be vastly different. There will be some similarities along the way but, it’s essential to get a routine that caters exactly to you. Our recommendations will require a trial and error system to find out what ratios and products work synergistically within your endocannabinoid system. Our list provides a few of our favorites but, don’t forget to keep exploring new products to find what suits you best.

Select: 1000mg CBD tincture

CBD is one of my fastest ways to combat anxiety and mild depression, as it aggregates within your cannabinoid system with very minimal negative side-effects. The non-addicting properties of CBD are one of its many benefits, as well as its ability to “come down” without hang-over-like side-effects.
In addition to the scientific recognition CBD gets for its ability to “reduce pain, muscle spasms, insomnia, and other various kinds of cancer,” it has also been effective for people who struggle with, “P.T.S.D., depression, anxiety, and other mental conditions”. It’s important to nurture and tend to these health conditions, whether minor or major, during this time. Cannabis is a powerful resource to take these measures.
Most doctors and researchers will not recommend using CBD on its own, as it works synergistically with THC. You can pair Select 1000mg CBD tincture with any THC ratio of your choice. This is going to be different for everyone. To combat anxiety, a lower dose of THC is recommended. To combat pain, a higher dose of THC is recommended.
While it isn’t the same experience for everyone, most CBD research unanimously states that CBD “reduces undesirable side-effects of THC, also eliminating unwanted feelings of both anxiety and depression”, which is a great option during your time inside if you feel you have, at any point, consumed too much THC which can induce more anxiety or depression.

Mary’s Medicinals: Transdermal Patches

These patches are a bang for your buck and you’re about to find out why. Cannabis, when consumed in the most obvious forms: smoking, dabbing, vaporizing, eating, and so on, are all great ways to obtain relief for minor pains; but unless you keep medicating, the pain or discomfort you may experience always returns. This is why Mary’s Medicinal Patches are an amazing alternative to any new user or cannabis veteran seeking long-term relief.
Here’s how they work, directly from Mary’s Medicinals website:
“Research shows that transdermal delivery is the most effective method of delivering cannabis to the body, as it directly enters the bloodstream. When cannabis is smoked or eaten, patients may lose up to 70 percent of it to air vaporization, metabolism, and stomach acid, which is inefficient and makes accurate dosing difficult. Mary’s transdermal products are so effective that the dosing of a standard 10mg patch may be equivalent to that of an 80mg edible.”
Do you remember when we were talking about saving money? One 10mg patch is equivalent to that of an 80mg edible! Think of the savings, but most importantly, think of the relief! Mary’s patches come in a variety of cannabinoid ratios such as Sativa, Indica, 1:1, CBD, CBN, and THCA, which will aid in relief for hours on end.
A pro tip for using patches: Always apply to a veinous part of the body like your ankle or wrist and experiment cutting them into halves and quarters to extend their use. As you experiment with your ratios, start small, and see what results incur. This is a great way to gauge your tolerance and save money in the long run. Also, if you are prone to having sensitive skin, we do not recommend leaving these on longer than 8 hours, as it might irritate the skin surface.

Papa and Barkley: THCA tincture

Papa and Barkley THCA tincture is a non-psychoactive tincture that induces euphoria without disorientation. THCA is the most abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis plant and offers a variety of benefits. Most recognizably heralded for its treatment of the following, but not limited to: “multiple sclerosis, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, irritable bowel syndrome and Parkinson’s disease,” it aids in relieving minor pain, as well.
A meaningful self-care routine is also preventive. THCA is a neuroprotectant that means it can protect against or help repair neurons. Medical evidence supports the use of THCA “may be a more potent alternative to THC in the treatment of nausea and vomiting, ” therefore, if you are prone to nausea, this is an excellent item to have at home to take on-set or before you experience symptoms. THCA is a powerful tool for alleviating symptoms with immediacy as it’s absorbed sublingually, with noticeable side-effects within 15-30 minutes.
THCA offers a wide range of medicinal benefits but is also a great way to boost your mood and enhance your creativity. As more research continues to reveal its astoundingly restorative and healthful properties, we will see THCA further expand into the cannabis market, hopefully reaching a wider range of people.

CANN: Social Tonic

CANN is a magical beverage that utilizes the art of microdosing for their uplifting side-effects. This perfect micro-dose ratio unleashes a flux of inner-peace and relaxation. It definitely subdues any negative thoughts you might be having, and pushes you directly in the present tense. Not only do they feel great, they taste amazing! A refined soda full of fresh herbs and citrus notes, finished off with a hint of crisp air-is just what quarantine was looking for!
If you are aiming to reduce your alcohol consumption but often associate having a nice drink with a good time, CANN is the right place for you. This is an unfortunate correlation we all live, and during quarantine there’s nothing more appealing than a nice time- which is why CANN is an excellent alcohol alternative. Imagine: a delicious, all natural social tonic without the negative side-effects of alcohol! Sounds like a dream.
As far as milligrams goes…more is not always better. The beauty of CANN beverages is anchored in their low-dose formula. CANN is an ideal option for anyone seeking out a social and vibrant cannabis high, without feeling lethargic or weighed down. CANN is changing everyone’s opinions of cannabis beverages, that less is definitely more!

LEEF Organics: CBD Soap
Coda: Signature Infused Bath Bombs

What’s a self-care routine without a tub of bubbles and fizz? New to the Mankind family: Leef Organics Cucumber Melon: NOOK + CRANNIES CBD soap unleashes a variety of benefits for your skin. Known for soothing, calming irritations, hydrating, and even, balancing… this soap is great for a scope of skin-related issues on most skin types (including sensitive skin)!
New research studies also suggest that CBD is an amazing alternative for acne treatments, which is why this bar can help tend to your skin and revive its natural glow! Consisting of ingredients like coconut milk, olive fruit oil, yucca root, and SPIRULINA, this soap provides instant results of naturally vibrant skin that is nourished back to life after these dry winter months.
After scrubbing, it’s time to relax. Coda Signature Bath Bombs are the ideal way to end the night and ease yourself into the perfect night’s sleep. The aromatherapy and cannabis, coupled together, aids in complete and total relaxation of the mind and the body. This combination is a great way to endure your time inside, but also enjoy it! Take time to be kind to yourself while you are at home and experience the value of a refined, cannabis self-care routine, catered specifically to you.

Article By: Renee Smaldino

Cited Sources

British Pharmacological Society
Cresco Labs​ (Follow their IG: ​@crescocannabis​)
Leef Organics
Marijuana Gateway to Health: How Cannabis Protects Us from Cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease by Clint Werner
Project CBD​ (Follow their IG: ​@project_cbd​)

Featured Products

CANN Social Tonic
Leef Organics
Mary’s Medicinals
Papa and Barkley
Select Cannabis Co.

Empowering Women, Always: Vera Levitt

Empowering Women, Always: Vera Levitt

Vera Levitt is the Chief Operating Officer at Mankind Dispensary. She is highly regarded in the cannabis industry and has become a huge pillar of change for the people around her, evoking an environment that is not only inclusive, but effective and malleable. She maintains an immense dedication to helping others, while offering her time and energy in ways unyielding.

She empowers the women around her to explore the boundaries we’ve been inherently accustomed to by setting an example of how to graciously navigate around them.

I have had the pleasure of working with Vera for the past two years. Since I have known her I have experienced the enormous impact she has had in our workplace, the women around her, and in my personal life. Vera is someone I admire for her uninterrupted spirit and her vigor to always gain insight with an unlimited perspective. She is also someone that is powerful, yet gentle, and helps the people around her feel seen, heard, and understood. She is always willing to rock the boat for the truth and what is right.

In my own life, she has inspired me to invest in personal growth which is why I was so happy to sit down and ask her a few questions in honor of Women’s History Month. We will look back on this month, throughout time, and recall the women who mean the most to us. I am happy to say, I will be able to look back on this memory, where I was able to converse with one of the women I value and admire so extensively.

What has led you to the cannabis industry?


Very simple. I needed a job. I left an almost 20 year marriage, was a stay-at-home mom, and needed to go from zero income to not-zero income. So in a matter of about two weeks, I landed four different freelance jobs. One of those freelance jobs was getting familiar with the new compliance regulations for what would be the very first recreational cannabis sales in California for Mankind, which, at the time, was a medical marijuana dispensary. Then, the C.E.O. James [Schmachtenberger] asked that I work on familiarizing and getting us in compliance for January 1, opening day of recreational sales, as well as, getting us through the licensing process, which wasn’t yet complete.

I managed the licensing process in about three weeks and got us compliant by January 1, for all of the new regulations. [At the time] I was working with someone on FDA clinical trial compliance, as one of my freelance jobs, so I was familiar with compliance and what it entails and I had some background in the medical industry.

When I was a stay-at-home parent, I did a lot of work in birth and new mother support, specifically lactation and healing from that. I had a lot of hospital time under my belt, therefore working around compliance and regulations was not challenging and it seemed like a natural move into cannabis.

What hurdles do you think women might face, within and outside, of the industry to become successful professionals?

Well, this industry has a long, cultural history. Specifically, the culture of the industry is very strong, and women have historically been excluded from that. It’s interesting because this industry has more women in leadership and executive positions than most other industries.

So, even though the industry, as a whole, might have a misogynist history, women have found a path to leadership that, I think, because it’s still an emerging industry, has fast-tracked the ability for women to get to more leadership positions. I know, for me, coming from 10 years of not being in the workforce, I found myself quite surprised, [at] the speed at which I found myself able to pursue leadership the way that I did.

And, I did it the way most women do it, which is by proving myself. I started something that was much, much smaller than what I made it into. I think a lot of women do the same in every industry, but because this industry is still emerging, there is more opportunity to grow quickly…if you’re ambitious, if you’re driven, if you have the skills to be successful with new endeavours. It requires a tremendous learning curve, for me, but I don’t know if that is true for other women.

In every industry, not just cannabis, I think that the way women approach the world is different than men typically approach the world. That’s a binary explanation, but, 90% of the world lives in the binary so that is what most people will experience. Men have been traditionally at the helm of business, and I think the way women operate is very different.

It’s certainly my experience on every level of working within this company and in this industry, that women are incredibly supportive; we don’t play things so close to the chest, and I think that is because women are conditioned to be more cooperative. There are anthropologists that will study the cooperative nature of women to get to common goals, and I think that’s inherently a benefit to every company.

In what ways does Mankind empower women to grow within the cannabis industry?

The great thing about Mankind is that the leadership, ownership, and founders, want this company to be set apart. We don’t just want to be a leader in the industry, we want to be revolutionary.

What I’ve noticed, it is a challenge in this industry, and all industries, but it is also a challenge for men. That is because women operate differently, because our ownership and leadership has strived to create a very diverse workforce here and our dynamic is different than most companies. It’s so different here.

In one of the ways it’s different, is where I have worked hard to make sure there is room to be a woman here. Wholly a woman. That is a passion of mine, if you want to talk about what I’m passionate about? That’s it. And when I say, wholly a woman, I don’t mean the BS mantra of women in the media, that women are shrill, or emotional-I mean appreciating and valuing the way a woman comes to the table and the way she operates.

Sometimes that comes with more emotion, but it also tends to come with a lot of passion. With that passion comes a drive, that is unequaled. So when women are allowed to operate, just as they are, those gifts come to the forefront.

When I say I’m passionate about leadership, what I really mean is I’m passionate about people. I love to ignite, or what I call permission giving-or others may call inspiration. Sometimes we just need to see somebody else doing, someone else taking the lead, someone else being courageous. It’s not that I’m not afraid, I just handle fear differently than other people. When I am in fear, I walk into it. That’s the only way I know to come out the other side triumphant. And that is what comes off as confidence to people, just being willing to take that risk. 100% of the time it has worked out because I’m still here and it hasn’t killed me yet!

Who has inspired you?

It’s a population of people. It’s not one. There have been some pretty incredible women that have inspired me in a number of ways.

First, I will say, my own parents have instilled in me, a few values that have proven to be really important in my success. The first is, “the worst they could say is no.” It’s a good value. It helps with fearlessness. The other is, “you’re unstoppable with information and learning…everything you want is possible, if you are willing to learn.” It’s just a value they both have, who came from very different upbringings, and I’ve seen it happen.

They also taught me to treat my employees well. I watch my parents who run their own businesses, my whole life, really go above and beyond for their employees. So that came from them.

I think the piece around being the kind of woman who walks through the world, confident in who she is, comes from four different women.

One of them was my father’s best friend’s mom. Her name was Eleanore. I didn’t know her well but she had so much poise and was so passionate about what she believed in, and was very successful in her life…and she raised incredible children. Her children were so incredibly successful. All three of them. And I have always admired her still having her own sense of identity.

One of her children is another one of the women that have inspired me. Her daughter Karen. She was an incredible dancer, a doctor, a mother, a Judaism scholar-just ambitious, successful, and driven.

There was another woman named Karen, who was the Mother Earth, Jewish hippie mom. I was just always inspired by the way she was so kind. I really tried to incorporate that in my life.

And, the other one is, my best friend’s mom growing up, she owned numerous Montessori schools and was incredibly wealthy but you would never know it. She built something and believed so deeply in it and it grew and grew and grew-and she never wavered from who she was. All four of these women are deeply aligned with who they are. And they didn’t waver.

Now, I think the women who inspire me most are other mothers, as I see what they do. I see the smart, incredibly capable, intelligent group of women that raised our children. Those deep, deep friendships and how they see me, how they hold me accountable, how they lift me up, how they support me, that’s what inspires me. My best friend, her name is Kate. She has a very different personality than me, a very different parenting style than me, but she is my BS caller. She’s driven, incredibly successful, and so different; and I gain a lot of inspiration by valuing our differences.

What is the best advice given to you and what is your advice you might want to share with other women inspired by you?

I have experienced, in this industry, advice around “do it the way a man would do it.” Multiple times. When I first started I was deeply looking for a mentor, desperately looking for a mentor, I felt in over my head and overwhelmed; and, one of the first pieces of advice I got from someone I was hoping would be a mentor, is, “A man would never wait that long. A man would never believe that they weren’t good enough. This is a man’s world, learn how to play with the big boys.”

And, that is very common advice for women in corporate America, but I don’t believe the man’s world is the “right” world. And, I don’t believe the boy’s game is the “right” game. I think by corporate America not valuing what women traditionally bring to the table, as women, they are missing some of the biggest gifts our culture has to offer [our population has to offer].

I do not want to come to the table like a man. I wanted to come to the table like myself. I very much identify as being a woman, so, I honored that, and it may have taken me longer to get there, but, I started in December 2016 and by June of 2017, I was the C.O.O. of this company. So I think doing it my way, worked out pretty well.

I think there is a lot of value to the way women approach things, that hasn’t been honored, and I think this industry offers an opportunity because of how many women are in leadership roles, to be really set apart in corporate America. I think corporate American can learn from what it looks like when women are at the helm of more companies and in leadership roles; and what that looks like and feels like every day.

My advice to all women is to deeply honor all of the parts of who you are… I mean the ambitious part, the driven part, the scared part, the vibrant and vivacious part of you, the nervous or naive, the mother-nurturing, which is really personal to me, as well. That kind of integration of a woman is what is necessary and what is missing from most of corporate America. When all of that is in alignment is when a woman becomes an unstoppable, positive force of change or result.

Interview by: Renee Smaldino

9 Reasons to End the War on Marijuana

I remember the first time my grandma tried cannabis. She was 80 years old. We were sitting in my garage in Denver back in 2011. I just about fell out of my chair when she said she’d try it. She was 100% serious.

But the story is even crazier when I tell you about who my grandma is. She’s a sweet little southern Christian lady named Viola who stills calls me Baby Doll. You know what? I’m not mad at that nickname. We’ve always been close.

And the other thing is, she’s always been scared of marijuana. She grew up believing what the government said about marijuana — about how it was as dangerous as other Schedule I drugs likes ecstasy and heroin. You know, all that stuff we all heard about how it made you a criminal, a bad person … a thug.

So back in 2011, it was me and my grandma — the woman who still carries a Bible with her when she travels — hanging out in the garage I had turned into a den. And we were just sitting there talking when she dropped it on me: She had been struggling with chronic pain for a long time.

It was a day I’ll never forget. My grandma had never told me about her pain before. She started telling me about the constant throbbing behind her eyes. It was getting worse, to the point where it was affecting her vision. It was tough for me to see her like that. 

“Is that you, Baby Doll? I can barely see you there.” She’d say stuff like that. It was hard.

Al Harrington

She told me that her doctors prescribed her painkillers and other medicine. They weren’t helping, and they were making her lethargic and depressed. She was miserable. It had been going on for years.

Marijuana was already legal in Colorado, but I didn’t mess with it yet. I was still in the league and the NBA tested for it. But even more than that, I still had antiquated views about it. I viewed it the way I saw it as a kid, as a scary drug and nothing more than that.

But on her second day staying with me, she shocked me by agreeing to try it. You have to remember, this is a God-fearing old lady from the South who never touched a drug in her life. She didn’t drink alcohol. She didn’t even like going out to restaurants. My grandma, man … old school to the core. But she was desperate for an alternative.

Nothing’s been the same for her since she tried it.

The day after she had cannabis for the first time, she called my mom to tell her all about it. My mom actually recorded the conversation because she was so shocked. On the recording, you can hear my grandma saying how her the whole world felt “brighter.” She was calling it a miracle. “I can read my Bible again!” she was saying. Since then, my grandma has continued taking cannabis and she’s found the right dose for her symptoms. She’s in far less pain, and it’s pretty incredible to see.

Now you know a little about my grandma. She’s a cool one.

So lemme ask you, is my grandma doing something wrong? According to federal laws, she is. She’s committing a crime.

Is that where we’re at? Are we really trying to put grandmas in prison for using marijuana to treat pain?

I’m gonna tell you what I think is the most important statistic about marijuana.

First we’re gonna have to go all the way back to the ’80s. Back to Orange, New Jersey, where I grew up and lived until I was in high school. You know how some people are always being like, “You don’t know where I come from?” Orange is the kind of place where people say that. If you know, you just know.

To picture where I lived, envision a huge U-shaped apartment complex. There must have been hundreds of apartments in that complex. In the middle of the U, there was this big field of grass where me and the other kids played football, kickball and baseball when we were 10, 11, 12 years old. Almost every day, after we were done playing, everyone would go over to the little convenience store on the corner of Tremont and Scotland. I’d usually get a quarter water and bag of chips. Maybe some Now and Laters. Run me about 65 cents total. In the back of the store they had arcade games — Street Fighter and NBA Jam. If we had any money left over, we’d play those games. Otherwise we’d be outside chillin with all the other kids.

Al Harrington

I came up during the War on Drugs. I didn’t know what it was called. But I knew what I saw. Almost every week, at some time or another, a police car would roll up to the corner. If there was a group of young black men standing on a corner, it was only a matter of time. That was just normal for us. We’d be chilling outside and the police would get out and make everyone empty their pockets. They’d search us, make us stand against the wall, the whole routine. “Who got drugs? Show me the drugs.” But me and my friends never had any. I never messed with marijuana when I was a kid. I knew my mom would kill me if that ever happened. But no lie, I never got used to those searches. I was like 12 years old, man — that shit was scary. Sirens are going off and you’re being searched by dudes with guns. It’s crazy — I always felt like I was doing something wrong even though I wasn’t.

In Orange, it was mostly marijuana they were looking for. I’m sure there was hard stuff there, but it seemed like it was mostly weed. It was the ghetto — and the ghetto means cheap weed. So people would come from all around to get it.

Sometimes, kids got picked up. Sometimes you didn’t hear from them after that. Today I’m 37 years old and sometimes I still wonder what happened to some of those kids. Maybe they made it out all right. But c’mon, if you’re from the hood, you’ve heard too many stories of the opposite — lives changed forever, relationships changed forever, black men who can’t get jobs because they’ve got a non-violent marijuana offense on their record.Advertisement

Al Harrington

I moved from Orange to a nice neighborhood for high school. Then I went to the league right after that. For the first time in my life I was meeting people from all walks of life. Some guys from nice upbringings, some from places like Orange. Most of them had gone to college.

Talking to them, I heard about another side to the War on Drugs. The way some dudes were describing it, marijuana was everywhere in the suburbs and at colleges. But police weren’t really caring too much about it. I was hearing about people selling weed like it was nothing — never getting caught. I was hearing how everyone casually smoked weed in college like it was just another class. Basically, I was hearing how police in some communities weren’t really policing marijuana the same way I was used to.

Alright, now I’m gonna finally tell you that statistic. I came across it a couple years back:

The rate of marijuana use is relatively similar across racial lines. But black people are almost four times as likely to be arrested for it.

Think about that for a second. In other words, yo … everyone uses marijuana at the same rate but not everyone is punished the same.

Enforcing marijuana laws costs the country about $3.6 billion a year, but it hasn’t stopped the use of marijuana, or decreased the availability of it.

More important, people’s entire lives have been altered for using or selling something that’s legal today in multiple states. Today, the cannabis industry makes billions of dollars and there are still people in other parts of the country, mostly minorities if we’re being real about the stats, who are incarcerated for the same substance.

Maybe I didn’t know the definition of the War on Drugs when I was 12 years old, but now I do. It wasn’t a war on drugs. It was a war on certain people who used drugs. And that’s a fact.

I encountered pain early in my career. Then I encountered the pills that they tell you will help. I was lucky I never got hooked.

After my second year in the league, I had to have back surgery. It was my first time knowing real, sustained pain. The inflammation in my back, and then later in my knees, was a battle I fought my whole career. The doctors gave me Vicodin and other strong painkillers for the month or two right after surgery, when the pain was really bad. But then I stopped. I really didn’t enjoy the way I felt. I was having all kinds of side effects — stomach aches, feeling woozy. It was terrible.

But I count myself as lucky, not strong. It was a window into the world of opiates. Painkillers do what the name says. They kill the pain. But it’s temporary … and then you need more just to mask the same pain. Maybe you saw this stat: This year 64,000 people in America died from overdoses on opioids. When I read that, my first thought was about how much of the addiction starts with a real injury, like the one I had with my back. And then spirals out of control from there. That’s why I count myself as lucky.

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

The most common thing I got prescribed was something called Celebrex, for inflammation. I played 16 years in my career, and damn near my whole career I was taking some type of pill for inflammation. I took two Celebrex in the morning and one at night for inflammation, just to be able to practice or play or get through the day. I probably still have bottles of Celebrex in some drawer in my house. Looking back, who knows what effect that’ll have on me long term. But nobody really talks about the side effects or the long-term issues. You’re supposed to just pop a pill and let it do its thing. You’ve seen those commercials on TV where the narrator is always sounding super happy as she lists 43 side effects? “It’ll cure this — but your eyeballs will fall out!” … “You’ll feel happier but there’s a chance of sudden death!” It’s crazy, man. We’ve gotten to a place where side effects are like some kind of background noise. I challenge you to tell me how many overdose cases there have been from cannabis. I’ll wait.

As I said, I was never into marijuana when I was in the league, but I tried everything the doctors could prescribe. After my career, when I was around 32, after seeing what cannabis did for my grandma, I tried out cannabidiol, which is the non-psychoactive form of it — you get the anti-inflammatory effects and the pain relief without the THC, the chemical in marijuana that gets you high. I took the cannabidiol (CBD) as a cream or oil that could be rubbed on topically.

And look, I’m not trying to give out medical advice, so I’ll just say this — for me, cannabis changed my experience with pain. It has worked better, with fewer side effects, than anything I’ve gotten from a doctor. To this day, at 37, after 16 years in the NBA and back surgery and all the miles on my body, I’m still playing ball every week in L.A. Meet me out there. Afternoon runs Tuesday and Thursday. You don’t want none of this!

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A few years ago I co-founded a business that produces non-psychoactive cannabis as well as THC-based products. Marijuana changed my life with regard to pain. Now it’s my second calling after basketball. And in a way, it all goes back to that day seven years ago in the garage with my grandma.

Being a minority in the cannabis industry has made me realize how rare it still is. That’s why I’m active in the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA). The MCBA is about improving access and empowerment for minorities in the industry. It basically comes down to this: We’re the communities most hurt by the War on Drugs. Now that marijuana is legal in so many parts of the country, we shouldn’t be left without a seat at the table as the industry takes off.

Alcohol abuse and the NBA. You don’t hear a lot about it, but it’s there. It flies under the radar.

This is just the reality: NBA players are affected by anxiety and stress. We’re like any other people with a full-time job that involves a lot of emotional and physical ups and downs.Advertisement

Many NBA players have a few alcoholic drinks a day. I’ve seen the progression to where they’re having more than a few — just to unwind a little bit or relieve some pain. Pretty soon, it’s easy to be doing that after every game. That takes a serious toll. Pain is just part of sports, though. Athletes are going to seek ways to ease that pain.

I won’t say names, but in my 16 years in the league, I knew of at least 10 or 12 players who had their careers cut short due to alcohol. It either affected them physically or mentally, but one way or another, alcohol shortened their careers. No judgment from me, just facts. We all should be honest. It’s well known how liquor can destroy lives. But we’re still out here demonizing cannabis while alcohol is promoted at sporting events? It all starts with some honesty.

Jeff Sessions, man. I almost left him out of this … because I’m not usually heavy into politics.

But then I thought, We can’t just let these politicians off the hook.

You maybe saw how Sessions, the attorney general, said, just a few days ago, how he plans to enforce federal marijuana laws in states where it’s already legal. Sessions says marijuana is a federal issue.

But I think he’s confused about his own politics.

When it comes to the votes of the people in states where cannabis is legal, Sessions is all about the federal government’s power. But then when it comes to laws that would make it easier for minorities to vote, he’s a states’ rights guy?

Jeff Sessions, man.

Young people need to run for office. That’s my first thought on that subject. 

But not only that, I’ve got some advice for y’all: if you want to win, make marijuana legalization one of your main issues. You could win on that issue alone, I really believe that. Because it’s not just about legalization, it’s about addressing racism, policing, the prison system, sentencing laws — all of that. Decriminalizing marijuana is one of those issues that cuts across party lines.

Some politicians are understanding what we need to do. I’m grateful that New Jersey senator Cory Booker introduced the Marijuana Justice Act, a bill modeled on California’s Proposition 64 that ends federal marijuana prohibition and centers on communities most devastated by the War on Drugs. I worked with the Drug Policy Alliance to support Prop 64 here in California. Now I’m continuing my support of Senator Booker’s bill. I hope you’ll read up on it and see why it makes sense on a civil rights level and a common sense level.

It’s my belief that 70-80% of today’s NBA players use marijuana in some form. I’m not exaggerating. I didn’t do any formal polls or anything like that. I just played in the league for 16 years, and that’s my opinion.

Due to the NBA’s ban on cannabis, most of the guys are doing it in the offseason. But I really think the number is that high.

Here’s why I’m telling you that. These guys are NBA superstars. It’s not the last dude on the bench who’s on his couch getting high. These are global icons — leaders, teammates, parents, citizens. These are world-class athletes, man. They’ve got pain and stress and anxiety and all the things any human has. The NBA has never been more skilled or more fun to watch.

So you tell me: Is cannabis ruining these athletes’ lives? Or are our laws and ideas behind the times?

I started with a statistic, so I’ll end with one. It’s a fill-in-the-blank. Each answer is the same.

  1. An estimated 88,000 people die from _________- related causes annually.
  2. In 2014, the World Health Organization reported that _________ contributed to more than 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions.
  3. Consuming ________ increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, liver and breast.

Hint: the answer is either marijuana or alcohol.

Do I need to even tell you?

Al Harrington Retired NBA Player

You Must Be 21+, or 18+ w/ A Valid Medical Card To Enter