Historic First: Cannabis Education Campaign Kicks Off During NFL Super Bowl LIII

Twelve 30-Second Spots Debut During Super Bowl Broadcast on CBS Affiliate in USVI

NEW YORK: A women-owned digital marketing agency made history this weekend by managing to air its cannabis education ads during the much-coveted Super Bowl LIII broadcast. Featuring the Rastafarian Senator who led the fight for legal cannabis in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the spot is the first in a series for the cannabis online TV network Hmm Did You Know (HDYKshowcasing prominent voices from the cannabis industry and community.

A total of twelve :30 commercial spots aired during Super Bowl LIII programming on the USVI CBS affiliate, marking the first broadcast of a cannabis-centric public service announcement during NFL programming. The historic campaign is a product of 420MEDIA, a Seattle, NYC and Nevada-based digital marketing and media agency serving the legal cannabis industry.

In January, 2019, U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. approved a new medical marijuana law making the territory the latest Caribbean jurisdiction to open its doors to cannabis businesses and potential new tourism opportunities. The move has been years in the making, with voters having favored medical cannabis in a 2014 referendum. In addition to the U.S. Virgin Islands, other U.S. territories that have approved MMJ include Guam and Puerto Rico.

It is only fitting then, that the spots that aired during this Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast feature former Senator Positive T.A. Nelson, the seven-term Senator from the island and now the commissioner nominee to the Dept of Agriculture, who was among the most prominent voices leading the fight for marijuana law reform.

“The rationale behind medicinal cannabis is real, the science is real, the economics behind it is real, the health behind it is real,  and the opportunities behind are very real” says the former Senator in the spot promoting Hmm Did You Know Online Cannabis TV Network.

“I am extremely excited and honored to be working with 420MEDIA, on the frontlines in the battle for legalization,” Senator Nelson said. “We must keep up the fight until the old wall of prohibition is completely broken down! Our collective efforts continue to change the mindset of individuals who have been bombarded with propaganda for over 80 years. Education is the key to removing stigma.”

“For years, there has been pushback on the national level, but local media markets with legal cannabis are slowly changing,” said 420MEDIA CEO Kerri Accardi.  “We are extremely grateful to the USVI for taking the first step to educate the mainstream audience about the benefits of cannabis. This is the first of many slated for the cannabis education and awareness campaign with other renowned cannabis experts in the sports, medical and entertainment field sharing their wealth of information about benefits of medical cannabis. We look forward to breaking through new markets, and reaching audiences in legal cannabis states,” she added.

The public service announcement was co-sponsored by 420MEDIA along with several cannabis-based organizations and businesses including:

Humboldt Grace, a woman-owned cannabis strategic consulting company. Founder Lelehnia Du Bois offers her 45 years of experience to educate on the cannabis culture, work with individual, businesses, and organizations to develop successful strategies, and advocate for a healthy and sustainable industry.

The Marijuana Business Association (MJBA), a leading cannabis business organization and publisher the MJNews Network and Marijuana Channel One.

Nature Nurse Products, utilizing the power of nature and knowledge of medicine to create products that support the biological Endocannabinoid system. Nature Nurse is a beautifully blended and synergistic combination of ancient plant wisdom which has been expanded upon through science to create high-quality, easy to use products to incorporate into everyday life supporting health and well-being.
Curved Papers, a new twist on Rolling Papers, Curved Papers was founded by Michael O’Malley, an MIT-educated entrepreneur whose innovative patented curved design makes joints Easy to Roll.

Vital CBD:  Age Vital pharmacy, research and wellness is your local community and compounding family pharmacy Sarasota. By working in the medical field closely with physicians and patients for several years, their primary commitment is to serve people who suffer from chronic conditions such as pain, inflammatory conditions, and stress.

Guest Blog: The Many Faces Of Marijuana In Professional Sports

Guest Post By Rachel Stires

When someone mentions major athletes, it’s easy for a particular person to come to mind. Whether it’s one of your favorite football players or a recent Olympic gold medalist, there are many different faces that have been burned into our memories when talking about sports. This includes the scandalous, the controversial, and sometimes the cases of athletes being terminated or suspended for illegal or improper behaviors. When it comes to marijuana and professional sports, there have been multiple cases of pot-smoking athletes suffering suspension and voided contracts, but also messages of hope and advocacy.

Perhaps one of the most notable athletes that uses marijuana and used it during his career is Ricky Williams. Williams has a long career in the NFL and numerous awards from his college days, but has clashed with the NFL regarding his cannabis use. Now, Williams is a strong advocate for medical marijuana, including for athletes who are dealing with physical or mental health issues. Williams spends his days further researching the medical benefits of the plant and pursuing various ventures in the cannabis industry. “Pain is part of life,” he states, “but suffering doesn’t have to be, and if we can find a way to help people suffering from anything, let’s do it; I think it’s our responsibility as human beings.”

In light of Andrew Bogut’s recent leg injury, the Cleveland Cavaliers are considering two players to replace him, one of them being the next on our list: Larry Sanders. Sanders played for the Milwaukee Bucks for 5 years, ending his career with two suspensions for marijuana use. In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sanders explains “I will deal with the consequences from it. It’s a banned substance in my league. But I believe in marijuana and the medical side of it.” Since his retirement, he has been pursuing various creative ventures, but as of January 26th, Sanders has announced that he will be returning to basketball. On top of that, there are now rumors of him joining the Cavaliers to replace Bogut. Only time, and Sanders, will tell.

You’ve probably noticed that Williams is retired, and Sanders is currently inactive. It might seem a little weird to not talk about athletes that are still active, but the reality is that talking about marijuana use among current players is still taboo. That’s because it can be a very real threat to their careers. The NFL, NBA, and MLB all test for marijuana for various reasons, and the punishments for said usage can be heavy. There are hints, rumors, and statistics floating around about how many pro-athletes actually use cannabis, but we’re never going to know just how many do until it becomes legalized or less restricted. Until then, we’re going to continue to see gifted players like Williams and Sanders suspended, made infamous, fade away from a sport they’re passion about, and become another statistic.


Rachel Stires is a media relations specialist for the Medical Marijuana Treatment Clinics of Florida. In her spare time, she takes a special interest in health and fitness, including alternative treatments to common ailments.

TetraTrak’s Brian Yauger: Building Better Business Intelligence Technology

WASHINGTON: Brian Yauger has a game plan for bringing better business intelligence to the legal cannabis industry.  A Texan with Republican political leanings, the former NCAA football coach at first blush seems an unlikely figure to be heading one of Seattle’s hottest canna-tech firms, TetraTrak LLC, but Yauger believes his career as a big time college football coach was ideal preparation.

“Coaching turned out to be the perfect training for running a technology business,” Yauger tells MJNewsNetwork.  “You scout the field and competition, and you hire smart people to coach the positions that are not your strength.  Then you work tirelessly to put together a game plan.  Once you are comfortable with your plan you put it into action and then make adjustments on the fly as the game progresses.  You don’t get too high when things go right and you don’t get too down when things go wrong. You just keep pushing towards the goal line.  I think if you were to replace the words ‘game plan’ with ‘business plan’ and the word ‘adjustments’ with ‘pivots’, it is the exact description of how to run a business.”

Yauger Presents at MJBA Front Runner Seminar in Spokane

Yauger Presents at MJBA Front Runner Seminar in Spokane

Yauger relocated to Seattle in mid-June, 2014, looking to be a part of the Green Rush.  By February 2015 had founded TetraTrak, by opening a business checking account with $4600.  Within 6 months, Front Runner Data dashboard and searchable database Front Runner Data was cash positive.  Growing the company by establishing key strategic relationships with the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA), where he presents the monthly MJ Research Report, and several of its member technology companies, TraceWeed, and PayQwick.

TetraTrak takes advantage of the incredible amount of public data available from Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board.  Through its online portal, the LCB makes regularly publishes detailed market and company data, but in hard to consume spreadsheet format. The Front Runner Data service parses all the cumbersome Washington data into an easy to read dashboard and searchable database, so market participants can see who is selling what to whom and for how much.  To add even more value, Yauger and his team of analysts compile the data, add analysis, and publish it out to subscribers for $99 a month.  TetraTrak is currently building out a free service, with near real-time streaming data called MJTicker.com, which is expected to debut in the next few months as an advertising supported offering.

Yauger presenting to Front Runner and MJBA "Striking Oil" Seminar in Tacoma

Yauger presenting to Front Runner and MJBA “Striking Oil” Seminar in Tacoma

Hundreds of companies have already subscribed to his service in Washington, and the company is now raising money, and will use the proceeds of its raise to expand its service to include the legal markets of Oregon, Colorado and Alaska.

Bringing the dashboard to life, Front Runner and MJBA host quarterly professional education seminars called The Front Runner series, targeted panel discussions for licensees. These half-day workshops drill down into the official LCB numbers, parsing the wholesale and retail marijuana sales data into salient consumable chunks. MJBA’s David Rheins then leads panel discussions with the industry’s leading authorities – licensees, subject matter experts, and government regulators – and facilitates audience Q&A. Highlights of these panels are currently made available on YouTube via MJBA’s Marijuana Channel One, with full-length downloads of the seminars, in addition to live webinars, in the works.

“Relationships in the industry are everything,” Yauger explained.  Through organizations like the MJBA we have been able to network with other companies in the industry and grow very quickly.”

Canna-Technologists Adam Mauro, Leaf Logix, Eric Ogden, WeedTraQR, and Brian Yauger, TetraTrak at an MJBA mixer

Canna-Technologists Adam Mauro, Leaf Logix, Eric Ogden, WeedTraQR, and Brian Yauger, TetraTrak at an MJBA mixer

On the print front, Front Runner has teamed with Seattle-based Marijuana Venture Magazine to publish a monthly snapshot of Washington’s cannabis marketplace, and is in development with several other syndicated media programs.

Last week, as MJNewsNetwork was preparing this profile, Fox Sports was in town to profile Yauger. The story of how an all-American jock went from college coaching to cannabis is topical. Sports and cannabis is making national headlines, and trending up the twitersphere these days, with a number of high profile athletes from the NFL, NBA, NHL and UFC calling for the removal of the ban on medical cannabis.  Just last month, Yauger was a featured panelist at MJBA’s “Game On: The Business of Sports and Cannabis,” alongside NBA All-Star Cliff Robinson, and in other ways sees a convergence of his old sports and new cannabis careers.

NBA All-Star Cliff Robinson, Marc Belsher, Sliverback Advisors, and Yauger panelists at Game On: The Business of Sports and Cannabis in Portland

NBA All-Star Cliff Robinson, Marc Belsher, Sliverback Advisors, and Yauger panelists at Game On: The Business of Sports and Cannabis in Portland

 

Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan’s son Payton Ryan will be coming to work for TetraTrak after he graduates from college in May.   “Every football fan is familiar with the Ryan family,” Yauger said.   “The Ryan family is to NFL football what the Kennedy’s, Clinton’s, and Bushes are to politics.  Rob Ryan gave me my start in coaching and was my mentor.  We want to do the same thing with his nephew Payton.”

The cannabis technology field is super competitive, and the business intelligence segment of the marketplace is filled with first rate players.  Denver-based BDS, Washington, DC-based Frontier and Seattle-based Headset only the most prominent of the canna-tech firms seeking to build go-to metrics and analysis for this dynamic new marketplace.  All the competition motivates Yauger to push that much harder, “I work 70-90 hours most weeks, and not one minute of it has felt like work.  Building Front Runner and MJTicker and watching my little company that started out of necessity grow and become relevant in the industry has been so much fun.  I can’t wait to take it to the next level.”

 

NFL Super Bowl Champion Leonard Marshall To Keynote CWCBExpo in NYC June 16

NEW JERSEY:  Despite its status as an officially banned substance, the use of medical cannabis as a treatment for professional athletes — particularly NFL Football players — suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is known to be widespread. A number of high-profile NFLers have come out of the cannabis closet of late, and are calling on the league to rethink its pot policy.  Adding his personal perspective as a successful business entrepreneur and former champion NFL player with CTE symptoms, Leonard Marshall will address the topic as a keynote speaker at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition, (CWCBExpo) in New York City, June 15-17, 1 2016.

The former defensive lineman will deliver his keynote on Thursday, June 16, 2016 and moderate a panel on “CTE, Concussions and CBD.” Joining Marshall in the all-star panel discussion are Charlie Adams, NFL wide receiver who played for the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans; Eben Britton, a NFL guard and tackle for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears and currently a free agent; Riley D. Cote a former professional ice hockey player (NHL) with the Philadelphia Flyers; Nate Jackson a former NFL wide receiver who played six seasons with the Denver Broncos; and Heather Jackson, CEO of Realm of Caring.

“I am ecstatic to be participating in CWCBExpo and keynoting and moderating the all-star thought leadership panel. With my background and experience in football and with CTE, I’ll be able to bring a first-hand perspective to this important topic.  I look forward to addressing this issue in such a professional and well planned forum along with the other athletes,” said Leonard Marshall.

“Jump!!  Each individual walking the planet daily forms an estimate of him or herself. This estimate shapes into whom he or she shall be.  You can be no more than you believe you are and you can do no more than you believe you can. For it is belief that creates power in man and it is belief, which stimulates success.  Be driven and unafraid to jump at the next opportunity that is presented!” Marshall further commented.

As a NFL defensive lineman for twelve seasons, Marshall played for the New York Giants, New York Jets and Washington Redskins. During his playing career Leonard was on two Super Bowl Championship teams, was selected to appear in three Pro Bowls and was named All NFL twice.   Marshall is currently the Director of Strategic Initiatives/Brand Ambassador for the publicly traded Original SoupMan, Inc., and Managing Partner of Playbook Solutions Group Advisors, LLC, a $50 million franchise income fund.

“We are honored to have the charismatic Leonard Marshall as a Keynote Speaker at CWCBExpo NY.  As a champion football player, CTE advocate and successful entrepreneur, his unique insight, tenacity against the odds, and proven business acumen is the perfect fit for our event that elevates the discussion, awareness and advancements of the benefits of medical marijuana and a legalized cannabis industry,” said Christine Ianuzzi, Managing Partner and Show Director of CWCBExpo events.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The NFL Should Be Investing In Marijuana Research If It Wants To Survive

The National Football League has survived more public relations crises in the past year than most multi-billion dollar organizations endure in a decade. Yet the greatest existential threat to the NFL – if not to the existence of football itself – still remains Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or “CTE.”

As former All-Pro linebacker Junior Seau’s documented struggle with CTE demonstrated, the presentation of symptoms that occurs in most stricken with the disease are not always readily apparent. Concussions and sub-concussive impacts on the brain cause the rapid brain decay that is a precursor to CTE. Eventually, the lobes of the brain blacken and loose density—causing depression, early on-set dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and eventual death.

Terrifyingly, the vast prevalence of the disease may not have been known until fairly recently. Just this year, Boston University found the existence of CTE in the brains of 96% of 91 tested subjects, all of whom played football at some organized level. When the disease was first discovered in 2002 in the brain of former Pittsburgh Steeler Mike Webster by Dr. Bennet Omalu, the NFL initially tried to limit the fallout from the discovery. According to Omalu, “NFL doctors told me that if 10% of mothers in this country would begin to perceive football as a dangerous sport, that is the end of football.”

NFL GM Says ’30 To 40 Percent Of Players In This Draft Class Use Marijuana Regularly’

One of the many subplots for the NFL draft, which starts with Thursday’s first round, is where a pair of highly regarded defensive prospects, Shane Ray and Randy Gregory, will go. Both players are prized for their abilities to get to opposing quarterbacks, but both have also admitted to marijuana use, in Ray’s case just days before the draft.

Now NFL teams must weigh their evaluations of the players’ abilities against their concerns about character issues and possible future suspensions. For some teams, decisions on Ray and/or Gregory, who failed a drug test at the NFL draft combine in February, will come down to how they feel about usage of the drug in question, marijuana.

One unidentified general manager gave some insight into his team’s thinking, as reported Wednesday by Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman:

NFL Limits On Marijuana Still Strict, But Not Really

Tug McGraw was once asked which he preferred, Astroturf or grass. “I don’t know,” he said. “I never smoked Astroturf.”

That was 1974, when artificial turf was relatively new and he was more famous as a relief pitcher than as Tim McGraw’s father. Forty years later, professional athletes don’t crack many marijuana jokes in public anymore.

Much of the country is more accepting of cannabis — it is legal for recreational use in two states and for medical use in 23 states plus the District of Columbia — but marijuana remains a banned substance in the NFL, although the league slightly relaxed testing standards in its revised Policy and Program on Substances for Abuse.

NFL Seeks Right Answer For Medical Marijuana Use

Marijuana is casting an ever-thickening haze across NFL locker rooms, and it’s not simply because more players are using it.

As attitudes toward the drug soften, and science slowly teases out marijuana’s possible benefits for concussions and other injuries, the NFL is reaching a critical point in navigating its tenuous relationship with what is recognized as the analgesic of choice for many of its players.

“It’s not, let’s go smoke a joint,” retired NFL defensive lineman Marvin Washington said. “It’s, what if you could take something that helps you heal faster from a concussion, that prevents your equilibrium from being off for two weeks and your eyesight for being off for four weeks?”

One challenge the NFL faces is how to bring marijuana into the game as a pain reliever without condoning its use as a recreational drug. And facing a lawsuit filed on behalf of hundreds of former players complaining about the effects of prescription painkillers they say were pushed on them by team trainers and doctors, the NFL is looking for other ways to help players deal with the pain from a violent game.

NFL Reportedly To Renegotiate Drug Policy, Reduce Marijuana Punishments

Marijuana has been a hot topic in both college football and the NFL recently, and the NFL is reportedly set to address the issue by renegotiating the current drug policy.

The new rules will reportedly reduce the punishments handed out for marijuana use, per Dan Graziano of ESPN.com:

When and if the NFL’s new drug policy is finalized and announced, it will include changes specific to marijuana and other drugs of abuse.

A source told ESPN.com on Tuesday that the renegotiation of the drug policy, which has been going on since 2011 and includes testing for HGH, also will significantly increase the threshold for a positive marijuana test and reduce the punishments for violations involving that drug.

The source said the NFL’s policy on marijuana is outdated, pointing out that WADA has a higher threshold for a positive test than the NFL currently does, and in need of updating.