The use of medical marijuana has become more prevalent and accepted in contemporary American society.
Once thought to be a “gateway drug” to harder and more addictive substances, marijuana has slowly been gaining as not only a way to help heal and relax patients and athletes alike, but also as a vehicle for tax revenue, with states like Colorado collecting nearly $150 million in tax revenue in 2016, with $50 million specifically directed towards school projects.
Slowly the stereotype of the lazy, slacker is being replaced by the everyday joe smoking medical marijuana for the purposes of rejuvenation, relaxation, and even pain-relief. Nowhere is the stereotype more debunked than when it comes to athletes.
Here are 6 athletes who are not shy about their use of marijuana.
Ricky Williams. The former NFL and CFL start was a punch-line for marijuana use a mere decade ago, but now with 20 NFL teams playing in states where marijuana is legal in some measure, the term “pothead” and athlete don’t seem so incongruous. After numerous positive drug tests (for, you guessed it—marijuana), Williams eventually retired from the NFL in 2012 and has been a proponent of the legalization movement ever since.
Tim Lincecum. The Cy Young Winner, perhaps best known for his long hair and wicked pitching, was booked on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge back in 2009 while crushing strikes for the San Francisco Giants.
Michael Phelps. The greatest Olympian, swimmer, and possibly athlete of all time was photographed smoking out of a bong at a college party in the months after his mammoth 8-gold medal winning performance in Beijing in 2008. Michael Phelps would face a suspension from USA Swimming for three months, calling the situation “regrettable”, while also losing a couple sponsors, including Kellogg’s, along the way.
Randy Moss. One of the greatest wide receivers of all time, Moss freely admitted that he’d been smoking marijuana throughout nearly his entire NFL career. Moss, who would win a Super Bowl in New England with Tom Brady and Bill Belichik, is now a commentator with the NFL.
Kareem Abdul-Jabber. One of the greatest basketball players of all time, as well as the leading point scorer in the NBA’s history, Abdul-Jabber frequently took part over the course of his playing career. Abdul-Jabber, who continues to impose a larger-than-life shadow on the league and on race relations in the United States, currently carries a prescription for medical marijuana to help him deal with migraine headaches.
Nick Diaz. One of the most controversial and media-storm-prone athletes in the UFC—and league and sport already known for bombastic personalities—Diaz has faced a series of suspensions from the UFC for marijuana. The most ludicrous of them, a five year punishment handed down in the fall of 2015, garnered widespread criticism of a sport and drug-testing culture that put recreational drugs ahead of performance enhancing substances. For Diaz, the suspension is particularly crushing, as it will likely mean the end of the talented fighter’s career.