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Hall of Fame: Ricky Williams

Hall of Fame: Ricky Williams
PHOTO Highsman

In The Magazine

Hall of Fame: Ricky Williams

The retired NFL star has used his platform and extensive experience to change the conversation around cannabis for athletes and patients.

Ricky Williams knows more than most how beneficial cannabis can be, both on and off the field. As someone who spent 11 seasons playing in the NFL, most notably for the Miami Dolphins, the former running back and longtime weed advocate used cannabis as a means of recovery from the pounding he took played in the sport from 1999 to 2011, and knew other players used the plant to treat their pain and injuries.

Williams’ football career was impressive. He started strong as the winner of the 1998 Heisman Trophy—the award given to the best college football player in the nation—during his time at the University of Texas at Austin. He’d go on to play for the Dolphins and New Orleans Saints and holds many accolades, including being one of just 29 NFL players to eclipse 10,000 rushing yards.

Williams tested positive for cannabis several times during his career and notably failed several weed tests during the 2003 season. He turned his back on gridiron glory for good just before training camp in 2004 after the league fined him heavily and suspended him for four games for his cannabis use, and he became tarred with the “lazy stoner” stereotype.

Undeterred by people’s ignorance, he left for Asia to study the origins of cannabis in the foothills of the Himalayas, where he spent time learning about the plant’s healing properties and other botanical medicines. Some 15 years later, Williams emerged as a man in charge of his new role as a leader in the global cannabis movement.

Once criticized by sports pundits and fans alike for love of the plant, Williams has used his platform and extensive experience to “spark greatness” by creating premium cannabis products that empower professional and everyday athletes and sports enthusiasts. Williams says he used his deep knowledge and understanding of herbs, sports and wellness to launch his first cannabis company, RW Wellness, a range formulated by combining herbalism with the therapeutic power of premium hemp.

Williams followed the success of RW with the launch of Highsman, his cleverly titled cannabis lifestyle brand line personally curated to complement moments in the day. Pre-Game is a sativa for an energized boost; Half-Time is a hybrid for focused awareness and the Post-Game Indica offers a relaxed mood. A line of pre-rolls is currently in development. In recognition of the brand’s awesomeness, it picked up a 2022 Clio award for the Highsman by Jeeter collab. 

“I launched Highsman to create a platform to tell positive, uplifting stories about cannabis use, to counter the false narrative and destroy the stigma,” the two-time college All-American says. “This negative vibe surrounding cannabis is all bullshit; it’s all invented. Besides all the BS around being suspended in football, cannabis has been such a positive experience in my life that has put me in touch with a higher purpose. What separates Highsman from other brands—including celebrity brands in the space—is definitely the positivity behind the brand.”

This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.

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