When Clifford Robinson was on the Portland Trail Blazers near the end of the 1990s, they developed a reputation as the “Jail Blazers” for getting in trouble with the law — often with marijuana involved. But times are changing, and in Oregon, recreational and medicinal cannabis are both legal. So, “Uncle Cliffy” is going back to start a growing business, under the too-perfect name “Uncle Spliffy.”
In addition, Robinson has decided to become a public advocate for the use of marijuana as a substitute to other pharmaceutical painkillers to treat athletes; although, it’s tough to argue with him when he says, “I think I’ve always been an advocate for cannabis.” He was suspended twice during his NBA career for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and he admits that he smoked during the season.
On the business side, Robinson is still in the early stages. He’s set to be the keynote speaker at the Cannabis Collaborative Conference in Portland on February 4 (hence the press rollout), and though he has the name part down, he doesn’t have much else beyond a business plan at this point. He says he plans to roll out product by the end of 2016, though.
On the advocacy side, marijuana is still banned under the NBA’s substance abuse policies, even in states like Oregon, Washington and Colorado where it’s legal. Robinson is the biggest name yet to advocate not just a repeal of the ban, but for its use as a treatment on athletes. For now, though, it’s just nice to see that cannabis users aren’t demonized the way Robinson’s Blazers were back in the day. We’ve come a long way, and Robinson will try to take us even further.