NFL running back Ricky Williams of the Miami Dolphins walks through the stadium tunnel before a game in November 2010 in Oakland, California. (Ezra Shaw, Getty Images file)

Former NFL star Ricky Williams a symbol of society’s changing view of cannabis

    Ricky Williams, as he stood in front of technologists and investors at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego, was the living embodiment of society’s changing views on cannabis. Even with a storied football career that included a Heisman Trophy, a Dolphin’s franchise running record, an NFL rushing title and a pro-bowl appearance, Williams is generally remembered for one thing: failing his drug tests. His story was one of squandered potential and missed opportunities.

    How things have changed. Now, Ricky Williams is an entrepreneur, a finalist on ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ and an articulate spokesman for the up-and-coming cannabis industry. He seemed comfortable and happy with this role as he acted as emcee for Canopy San Diego, a cannabis technology accelerator program, and their portfolio of companies. He spoke candidly about his early marijuana use in college, a mirror image of many player’s pharmaceutical addictions as he first used it as a stimulant and then discovered its pain-relieving benefits.

    During his introduction he made connections to cannabis use and diversity. Not racial diversity, as one might expect for a black man speaking to a room full of techies — which isn’t the most heterogenous demographic.

    He spoke rather of diversity of thought. His cannabis use changed the way he thought about the game that made him rich and famous. It made him realize that there is more to life than football; his brain could be used as more than just a helmeted battering ram.

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