Despite cannabis’ precarious position within the scope of professional sports, it’s not uncommon to see retired players find a second career within the burgeoning marijuana industry. Count former Giants star running back Tiki Barber as one of the latest ex-athletes to take the leap of faith.
Barber, now 44, is banking (no pun intended) on cannabis to be his latest platform for success—he’s now a co-founder and executive at the startup cannabis investment firm Grove Group Management.
Tiki Barber’s Next Big Run
Barber recently appeared on TheStreet to discuss his latest venture into the cannabis industry. The former running back serves as the firm’s Chief Business Development Officer, and credits cannabis’ increased legality—particularly, when it comes to medical marijuana, CBD, and hemp— as a main factor as to why the once-illicit drug now presents itself as a viable investment opportunity.
“You focus on what’s available,” Barber explained. “The Farm Bill—originally passed in 2014 and revised in 2018—has made hemp, and therefore CBD, a somewhat viable option to make investment in. “
One of Grove Group’s Management’s main purposes is to help navigate cannabis start-ups through the ever-evolving regulations on the marijuana business. However, Barber also says one of the biggest factors in investing come through cannabis branding.
“We’re focused on distribution, but also on the branding side of things,” Barber said.
As with any other type of business, Barber says, marketing, branding, and commercialization of the product is a huge factor in standing out in an increasingly-saturated business.
“So much about this cannabis space is going to be about proper branding,” he advised.
A Symbolic Role
But despite the ex-Giant’s role on-paper, he believes this job has an even deeper meaning; Barber wants his position as an executive to represent the cannabis space’s potential to lift African Americans from years of oppression.
“I think we all are aware of the drug policies of the 70s in the 80s that caused mass incarceration and the decimation of some of our communities, particularly minority communities. And how that’s true, that’s in the process of being corrected,” Barber said.
Back in April, Barber also talked to Fox Business about the industry’s vast potential in helping the NFL’s opioid problem.
“We’ve seen the punitive nature with which the NFL attacks users of cannabis and I believe a lot of these guys are just self-medicating,” Barber explained. “They don’t want to be caught in the opioid addiction crisis that has affected a lot of former players because of the constant damage to your knees and your joints and that’s not even to mentioning the head trauma.”
“Guys are tired of managing their pain with things that are going to destroy their livers and make their lives down the line very untenable in some ways.”