The list of former professional athletes who are now investing in the cannabis market seems to be getting longer and longer.
Just last week, we have heard of two former football greats who have decided to cash in on the booming weed industry.
The first is Tiki Barber, the former star running back for the New York Giants. Late last year, Barber co-founded Grove Group Management, which is an investment firm that intends to focus on marijuana start-ups.
Then there’s Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Montana. The San Francisco 49ers legend is also looking to make high profits in the legal cannabis industry by investing in San Jose, CA-based cannabis marketplace called Caliva.
Why cannabis for Barber?
In an interview with CNN Business, Barber cited the increasing evidence on medical marijuana’s effectiveness in helping people with severe pain as one of the things that attracted him to the drug.
From his football days with the NFL, Barbers knows firsthand that the league is coping with a rising number of retired and current players who are dealing with traumatic head injuries.
According to him, the more quickly cannabis gets legalized at federal level, the better off the athletes will be. He also said that it is a “matter of inevitability” before federal legalization happens.
This is the reason why Barbers believes that now is a great time to invest in cannabis. He specifically wants to help fund small private companies, especially ones that are led by minorities. According to him, Grove Group was not looking to invest in large publicly traded cannabis stocks.
Barber, however, did not announce any of the names that Grove Group is looking to invest in. However, he said that the company is in the middle of deals right now. He added that they hope to disclose some of the names within the quarter.
Barber also clarified that Grove Group won’t just be limiting itself to cannabis. He explained that the CBD market looks attractive after industrial hemp was legalized through the Farm Bill.
Why cannabis for Montana?
Hall of Famer Montana and his investment group are putting in $75 million in Caliva.
In 2015, Montana launched venture capital firm Liquid 2 Ventures. He said that Liquid 2 Ventures was investing in an industry that they believe can provide relief to those who are fighting opioid addiction.
Caliva said that they would use the investment from Liquid 2 Ventures to grow a company that includes a cannabis farm, a distribution center, a retail store, and a delivery service. Caliva also distributes its branded products in many other retail outlets in California.
Neither Montana nor Caliva disclosed the former NFL star’s portion of the $75-million investment.
According to former Yahoo! Inc. chief executive officer Carol Bartz, who also participated in the investment and will be joining Caliva’s board of directors, Caliva would use the additional funds to open more stores, expand their operations, and launch new products. These new products will include cannabis-based beverages.
This is not Montana’s first foray into cannabis. In 2017, he was part of a $4.1-million investment in Herb, a company that produces and distributes cannabis-related news and entertainment.
A growing number of athletes are endorsing cannabis
Barber and Montana are just the latest in the growing list of former athletes who are publicly showing their support for cannabis and are investing in cannabis businesses.
There’s retired NFL running back Ricky Williams, who launched his very own cannabis brand, Real Wellness. Former NBA star Lamar Odom has also testified that cannabis helped him overcome his intense addiction to crack cocaine and has formed a cannabis company called Rick Soil Organics.
Of course, there’s former boxing champ Mike Tyson, who now has his own cannabis resort in California called Tyson Ranch. Tyson will even be hosting a cannabis-themed music festival on Tyson Ranch next month.
NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon, ultramarathon runner Avery Collins, and wrestling star Rob Van Dam have also been very outspoken and have publicly expressed their support for cannabis.