Cannabis use by athletes has long been a subject of intense debate. Sports organizations all over the country have rules and policies explicitly forbidding the use of the plant, paired with stiff penalties should a drug test yield a positive result for THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. But in recent years, retired athletes have been coming out of the woodwork to advocate for the plant and for the loosening of these restrictions. Former sixth man of the Portland Trail Blazers Cliff Robinson is one of the latest in this growing group.
Portland-based company Pistil Point Cannabis has partnered with Robinson, who acts as an ambassador for their brand. He also has his own line of cannabis products called Uncle Cliffy. And his involvement in the company has been highlighted as a huge contributing factor of Pistil Point Cannabis’ success. The company was the first exclusively indoor cannabis growing facility in Portland, established in a building that used to serve as a car speaker manufacturer.
“When you have brand ambassadors like Cliff Robinson, you are speaking to a much wider audience. You really need voices to reach a wider audience about what this medication represents and how it is to be controlled. Having people like Cliff on board can help make a difference,” said Pistil Point co-founder Sid Gupta. And it seems that Robinson considers the partnership to be just as beneficial on his end.
Initially his company was called Uncle Spliffy, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the frequent cannabis-based suspensions that he endured when playing for the Portland Trail Blazers. But he chose to change it to Uncle Cliffy so that the brand will be more closely identified with who he is, and not about creative wordplay. “Uncle Cliffy” is another nickname that Blazers fans know him by, and he feels that keeping the name as it is helps with the company’s image.
Uncle Cliffy products put a distinct focus on sharpening one’s focus and aiding in muscle recovery. Most recently the brand released a line of pre-rolled joints, but they are now working on a topical product that will ease muscle soreness with the healing power of cannabis.
While the company and Robinson’s involvement in Pistil Point Cannabis is fairly new, he has high ambitions for the future of his career as an ambassador for the cannabis company. His driving goal is to illustrate the many ways in which cannabis can be helpful to athletes, rather than the hindrance that many people suggest it to be. He’s credited the plant with helping to enhance the longevity of his career, and believes that other sports players should make use of cannabis’ numerous therapeutic benefits.
“[I want] to knock down the myth that athletes and cannabis don’t mix,” Robinson said. “I played 18 years in the NBA and I used cannabis on and off along the way and I didn’t have a problem.”
After having a recent stroke, Robinson has been using his own products to aid himself through the recovery process.
Photo by Gerry Dincher