Ricky Williams, the former Miami Dolphins running back whose career and reputation were tarnished by marijuana use, is now a national spokesman for cannabis use.
After spending years as the punchline for pothead jokes, Williams will be a keynote speaker at the Southeast Cannabis Conference and Expo, June 9-11 at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. It is the first large-scale cannabis convention ever held in South Florida and is expected to draw thousands of participants including patients, scientists, doctors, and others working in the cannabis business.
More than 20 NFL teams play in states where some form of marijuana use has become legal since Williams retired from the league in 2004 following multiple failed drug tests. Williams travels the nation to promote the medicinal benefits of the drug, and believes it can help with concussions and pain management.
At the expo, Williams is scheduled to discuss his cannabis use on a panel called Pro Athletes Pro Cannabis. Others speakers include former NFL players Marvin Washington and Boo Williams.
Demitri Downing, executive director of the event, says, "The Heisman Memorial Trophy is given to the college player who most epitomizes outstanding ability, diligence, perseverance and hard work. Ricky (Williams) was one of the first players to openly discuss the medical benefits of cannabis for athletes, and has since become one of the most well recognized faces of the legalization movement. We proudly welcome him in his return to Florida, and invite the public to hear his compelling story,"
Before speaking at a recent cannabis conference in Pittsburgh, Williams told the Post-Gazette: "The word medical marijuana didn't exist (in 2004). People talking about health and cannabis, it didn't exist. And now that it does, players can be educated on what are the possible side effects, how does this work, and how to use it in ways that are going to be most productive."
Williams recently enrolled at the Emperor's College of Traditional Oriental Medicine in Santa Monica, Calif. He made headlines earlier this year when he was frisked by police officers in Tyler, Texas, while attending an event for NFL Hall of Famer Earl Campbell.
The Fort Lauderdale conference, which also features Montel Williams, is open to the public. Admission begins at $50 per day. For information, visit seccexpo.com.