A former Stanley Cup champion hockey player is getting into the cannabis business, and it’s safe to say that he is a believer in the product.
Darren McCarty, who played 15 seasons in the National Hockey League, credits cannabis with turning around a life that had gone astray.
“If you’ve seen my progress over the past 10 years, you’ve seen me go through different stages from the alcoholism, which led me to this plant saving my life,” McCarty told the Detroit Free Press.
Now McCarty is taking that passion to the burgeoning cannabis industry through a collaboration with Pincanna, a medical marijuana grow and processing business based in Michigan.
For McCarty, who won four Stanley Cup titles for the Detroit Red Wings, the business venture is an opportunity to continue the advocacy since he hung up his skates more than a decade ago. After battling alcoholism and addiction to harder drugs, McCarty says cannabis helped him get his life back on track.
“For me, growing up, you were either a jock or stoner, so I never smoked pot growing up, but I’ve been drinking since I was 12 or 13 years old. That was acceptable in the hockey circles, it’s just culturally what was accepted,” McCarty told the Free Press. “So I would always say no to pot, until after my first surgery in 1999. I was on all these pills, and it was driving me crazy. And I’m an insomniac, so I can’t sleep, and that had a lot to do with all the drinking.”
After a friend suggested he give pot a try, McCarty said that “something went off in my head and it was like my body said yes.” Since then, McCarty said he hasn’t had a drop of booze, and has quit smoking cigarettes.
McCarty has long been vocal about his affinity for pot, and he celebrated last year when Michigan voters approved a measure to legalize recreational marijuana use (medical marijuana was approved by Michigan voters in 2008).
“Frankly, this plant saved my life, so now I’m treating it like it’s a teammate like the Red Wings. You saw how I stuck up for that jersey for years and years and how much it meant to me,” McCarty said last year shortly before the new law went into effect. “That’s how much this plant means to me because it’s given me my life back.”
McCarty is just one of several former athletes who has found comfort in marijuana, which is strictly prohibited by virtually all major sports leagues for current players. He is also the latest ex-Detroit athlete to venture into the cannabis business. Calvin Johnson, a former superstar wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, is planning on opening his own medical marijuana business in Michigan. Johnson also announced earlier this month that he will be partnering with Harvard University to study the potential benefits of marijuana in treating CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the neurodegenerative condition that has plagued countless numbers of current and former NFL players.