Athletes of all kinds are helping to change how the rest of us view and interact with cannabis. Their collective contribution has been key to abolishing the stigma toward cannabis users while normalizing its use and consumption. Light years from the stereotypical stoner of the 1970s, elite athletes are pushing the envelope and some are opening new markets and business opportunities for cannabis entrepreneurs and companies.

NFL and NBA icons Calvin Johnson, Al Harrington, Ben Wallace, Ricky Williams, and Rob Sims attended the recent Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Chicago where they sat on a panel moderated by High Times VP of content, Jon Cappetta.

They talked about their cannabis companies and their personal experiences. Across the board, their search for non-addictive and effective pain relief compelled them to embrace cannabis. 

Primitiv Group

Calvin Johnson who made and broke countless records during his nine seasons with the Detroit Lions holds the NFL record for most receiving yards in a season (1,964) is a 2021 NFL Hall-of-Famer and co-founder of Primitiv.

Johnson started the Primitiv Group with his former Lions teammate Rob Simms

“I saw what opioids did to my family members, and cannabis was the only other thing that could relieve some of the pain,” said Johnson who explained the origin of the brand name.

“Cannabis was that only thing that could really relieve some of the pain, some of those sleepless nights. I guess you could say it was a God-given gift, I mean the plan is primitive in nature. That's where we got our name 'Primitiv' because people have been using it as a healing agent from the beginning of time.” 


A Heisman Trophy winner with 11 years in the NFL and among the best running backs in college football history, Ricky Williams founded Highsman, which sells “premium quality cannabis" along …

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