“Let’s keep breaking the stigma brother…”
That was Jay’s sign-off about a year ago when we finally got ‘The Halftime Report’ on paper and out of our heads. The concept was to have a show where we could talk to current or former athletes and industry leaders about all things cannabis. The mission of the show was to bring awareness to a plant’s sports-related purposes, in a way that didn’t feel like a lecture or a sale. The issue was, we hadn’t seen it done consistently, so closing the gap between our reality and our vision felt like walking in the dark. But, that uncertainty mixed with optimism and an All-Star cast of guests produced one of the freshest projects any of us signed up for in a while.
As we rev up for a bigger and better season 2, there’s an energy in the air that feels similar to the first practice of a winning season. It’s nothing tangible, it’s just confidence that whatever’s ahead is going to be a growing experience at the very least. So, I revisited season 1 and learned that there were three things that helped make the show a success for us, our guests and most importantly, our audience.
- It’s not that serious
Cannabis, for some people, makes life bearable. Rather if it’s relieving physical pain or helping lighten the mental load that traumas inflict, the plant as a whole gives a lot of people a chance to exhale. With all that said, once you cut through the broad-stroke issues, the conversations around it really aren’t that serious. Going into this season, I don’t think I understood that as much as the rest of the team but after the first few episodes, it clicked. The joy this plant has brought is infectious; from people’s favourite high stories to botched experiences with edibles, every episode showed how light-hearted the leaf really can be.
Obviously the political repercussions and health concerns around improper practices during the cultivation stage are serious, but apart from that, it’s pretty chill. So when Justin Renfrow told us about the genuine friends he’s made through cooking events, or the Jesus of Golf tells about people reacting to him smoking green on the green, we can’t help but drop our guard for a minute. The first season showed us that in reality, the less serious the plant is taken(in some regards) the more likely it is to be talked about. It’s not religion or politics, it’s a plant that enhances life and a humble approach to that truth will lead to more people opening their minds to not only consuming, but fighting for it.
- Word of mouth advertising is still King
There’s nothing like asking a loved one for a show suggestion and them knocking it out of the park. Before you know it, you’re three seasons in and you’re telling people “you have to watch _______” every time the media gets brought up. It’s no different with Cannabis products and practices. This didn’t click for me until the 8th episode, when Rachel Rapinoe explained how Mendi took a quantum leap after several of her friends co-signed the CBD line’s profound effects. The beauty of it was, she was more confident about trying it after a friend of hers suggested it. Bottom line is, we all have loved ones that trust us over any billboard, so being a guide to someone else’s cannabis journey may be the best way to pay it forward.
- There’s still a long way to go
It’s hard to say that in a way that doesn’t sound negative, but the truth is the truth. With each episode, we learned about a problem that was solved and another that sprouted from it. One state legalizes growing it but getting access to a license is like trying to get a meeting with the President. It’s been decriminalized in many cities but there’s still a ton of people serving time in the states biggest prisons for it. The point that I’m making is, the fight is nowhere near over and breaking the stigma is only the first step.
It’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is what it is. But, we believe with enough people moving the needle in the right direction, it’s only a matter of time until cannabis is a house-hold plant.
Once I graduated from Villanova University, I played a year of professional basketball in Poland. I returned home and became director of student-athlete development for Men’s Basketball at my alma mater. At the same time, I started a media company called Stay Tuned Network which has been featured on NBC Sports Philadelphia and Fox Sports 1. I currently host The Halftime Report, a Show by Sports Cannabis and am a Sports Cannabis Contributor Writer.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada