Former NFL Stars Hint at Presidential Bid With Weed Platform

Former NFL quarterback Jim McMahon teased a presidential run recently, with fellow professional football player and cannabis entrepreneur Kyle Turley as his running mate.
NFL
Courtesy AP

Two-time Superbowl Champion Jim McMahon and All-Pro offensive lineman Kyle Turley are hinting at a run for the White House with a campaign built on passing a banking bill for legal marijuana businesses and creating awareness for the benefits of cannabis, according to a report from Fox Sports.

McMahon, who played quarterback for the Chicago Bears, and Turley, a first-round pick by the New Orleans Saints in the 1998 NFL draft, are co-founders of the cannabis brand Revenant along with fellow professional football player Eben Britton. According to the company website, a “mutual respect and understanding of the healing principles the cannabis plant provides brought these gentlemen together and fuels [their] desire to share it with the world.”

Last week, Turley visited New Hampshire to share his advocacy with Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley and Democrat Dean Phillips, who has launched a long-shot bid to overtake President Joseph Biden in the race for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination. During the visits, Turley reportedly talked up the benefits of cannabis and urged the candidates to support the Secure and Fair Enforcement and Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act, legislation that would give regulated cannabis companies access to traditional business banking services.

Now, McMahon is teasing a potential run for president with Turley as his running mate, according to the Fox Sports report, with a platform based on cannabis advocacy and support for the marijuana banking bill.

“We’re trying to get the message out about this cannabis plant and about fair banking,” McMahon told Fox News Digital. “We’re trying to bring awareness, not only to the cannabis industry but things that are going bad in this country. We’re going to make a little bit of noise. We might get some votes just for the cannabis part. We’re gonna have some fun with it. We’re gonna try and grow our brand and make people aware about this plant. We’ll see what happens.”

Cannabis Banking Bill Pending in the Senate

The SAFER Banking Act was approved by the Senate Banking Committee in September and advanced for consideration by the full Senate. The bill is a revamped version of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, a bill to provide cannabis companies access to traditional banking services that was passed by the House of Representatives seven times. 

Under current federal law, providing financial services to cannabis companies is strictly regulated, leaving many businesses—particularly small, independent operators—without access to bank accounts, credit card processing and other financial services. As a result, many businesses operate exclusively or largely in cash, leaving operators and their customers and staff vulnerable to crime. 

The SAFER Banking Act would remove the barriers to financial services for cannabis companies. Financial institutions would not be required to offer banking services to cannabis companies, but the bill discourages banks and credit unions from denying such services based on “personal beliefs or political motivations.” The measure also directs the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to amend previous guidance on cannabis banking services within six months and for “depository institutions” to comply with the agency’s new regulations.

Immigration and Homelessness Also On Campaign Platform

In addition, to cannabis banking and advocacy, McMahon shared other themes of the hypothetical presidential campaign, touching on immigration, homelessness, taxation and spending policy.

“I’d close the damn borders for one and then go find all the people that got in here illegally,” he said. “It’s ridiculous. We’re paying all this money as taxpayers, and it’s not helping us at all. We’re sending it all overseas, you know. Who knows where we’re sending it, but it’s not being used here in the states. “You look at California. They get the most money every year for homelessness, and they got the worst homeless population in the country or probably the world. There’s just so many things going wrong. We got to just stop the crazy spending and printing money and close our borders and let’s clean house.”

McMahon played 15 years as an NFL quarterback, leading the Chicago Bears to the Superbowl championship following the 1985 season, later winning another ring with the Green Bay Packers. His experience with the pain and recovery associated with playing professional football led him to advocate for the NFL to change its policy surrounding cannabis use.

“They need it for physical recovery,” McMahon recently told Forbes. “There’s no doubt about it. I mean, it’s the only neuroprotectant that has a patent on it. Why can’t they freely use that, rather than things that only mask the pain? That’s all they do. They don’t heal the body, they don’t help the body. They ruin your body, you get addicted to them, and they kill people, whereas cannabis has never killed anybody.”

After being drafted by the Saints in 1998 and playing there for five seasons, Turley spent a year with the St. Louis Rams. A back injury prevented him from playing in 2004 and 2005, but he returned to NFL action to finish his career with two seasons on the Kansas City Chiefs. He has been a vocal cannabis advocate since he retired from the NFL and has also lobbied the league to lift its ban on cannabis.

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