By Sean Zucker –
The marijuana industry has just acquired an unlikely hero—2014 MVP and two-time NBA champion, Kevin Durant. The superstar basketball player recently announced a partnership and sponsorship deal with Weedmaps, a cannabis platform.
The company doesn’t sell marijuana or any associated products. Rather, it guides users to legal dispensaries nearby. The current Brooklyn Net plans to use his new position to help destigmatize cannabis use, particularly among athletes.
“I think it’s far past time to address the stigmas around cannabis that still exist in the sports world as well as globally,” Durant told ESPN following the announcement. “This partnership is going to help us continue to normalize those conversations, as well as create content, events, and a lot more through our Boardroom media network. This is just the beginning for us.”
Durant’s move comes after almost 40 states have either legalized or decriminalized marijuana use to some degree. Despite this growing trend, its use remains banned for NBA players. Marijuana advocate and former NBA player Matt Barnes explained the significance of KD’s move to the worldwide leader in sports.
“There’s a shifting culture and it takes a superstar like KD to embrace this and help others not be afraid to discuss the benefits,” he said. “This has been a process. There have been meetings going on with the league and union for several years and both sides have hired experts to investigate this. This is a big step.”
Durant follows the lead of several other celebrities who have joined the industry over the last few years. These names include Seth Rogan, Snoop Dogg, Jim Belushi, Gwyneth Paltrow and even Woopi Goldberg. All of whom have either developed or bought stake in cannabis companies.
Why does any of this matter? Research is still young given the recency of its legalization in many states, but marijuana has already been proven to boost plenty of mental and physical benefits.
Harvard Health goes as far as to cite evidence pointing towards the plant’s ability to manage nausea and weight loss, ease severe and chronic pain, and relax muscles. There’s also promising research indicating it can alleviate PTSD in combat veterans, as well as alleviating irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease symptoms in others.
However, the stigma behind marijuana use extends beyond employers—it’s also legally fickle. Lawyer and founding partner at Moyeno Gonzalez & Associates, LLC, Rosemarie Moyeno Matos knows this all too well, as she expressed to WellWell.
“It is virtually impossible to navigate this space without the assistance of an attorney that not only understands cannabis law and applications process but also issues that are specific to the operation of a cannabis business, including federal restrictions, protection of intellectual property rights, and tax, real estate and land use issues that are frequently encountered by cannabis businesses,” she told the outlet.
Moyeno Matos went on to note many suffers of anxiety, depression, PTSD, migraines, chronic pain, glaucoma, migraines, opioid use disorder, cancer and other terminal illnesses have benefitted from pot use.
It’s worth noting, Kevin Durant himself is yet to officially confirm his marijuana use despite his passion for the plant and involvement with Weedmaps—exemplifying reversing widely held believes on cannabis will be no layup.