The Southwest Cannabis Convention featured more than just information about the products and services of the medical-marijuana industry. The convention, which concluded Wednesday in Phoenix, also hosted a number of seminars led by local experts and nationwide enthusiasts, some of whom are former NFL players.
“We are human beings with pain and emotion, and the more people talk about it, the better off we will be,” said Nate Jackson, a keynote speaker and former NFL player.
Jackson and former pro football players Ricky Williams, Eben Britton — an offensive lineman who played at the University of Arizona from 2006-09 — and Kyle Turley formed the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition when they all ended their professional careers. The organization talks about the benefits of using medical marijuana rather than standard pharmaceutical painkillers. Its goal is to help former athletes and the public recognize the advancements and process of cannabis use for illnesses and injuries.
“Cannabis should have been implemented into my recovery process,” Turley said while speaking about his concussion and knee injuries. “My career would have been much longer and I would not have to suffer through the pitfalls of my career and my life. The sad thing is people still aren’t being properly diagnosed.”
Turley, Williams, Britton and Jackson discussed their personal experiences with marijuana and noted the difference between the drug’s recreational and medicinal uses.
“I only did what I knew was best for me,” Williams said of his medicinal use of marijuana.
The former players said the National Football League’s stance against marijuana is misguided and outdated.
“The NFL is becoming more against cannabis, and they still neglect to follow the science,” Turley said.
Jackson, who compared the NFL to the military, added, “Cannabis is a choice and the NFL doesn’t want you to have that choice.”
“The difference between effective and addictive is social acceptance and public opinion,” Williams said. “It may not be the answer for everyone, but let’s at least look at it and see.”
On the same day, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery spent part of his weekly press briefing denouncing marijuana, citing studies that contend many people with Arizona medical-marijuana cards are violating guidelines and that its use is associated with family dysfunction and impaired driving.