Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Center’s northernmost corner is a vast maze of booths teeming with cannabis advocates — all part of the fourth annual Cannabis World Congress Expo — and right smack in the center of the maw is state Sen. Diane Savino, getting a crash education course on the Isodiol company’s hemp-based products. The lesson comes from none other than former Jets defensive end Marvin Washington.
It seems like an unlikely pair talking about the business of weed — the 53-year-old, Queens-born Savino and the still imposing, 51-year-old Washington, who is 6-6 and was born in Denver. But when it comes to the still growing cannabis movement, Savino and Washington are leading voices, and are on a parallel crusade to destigmatize marijuana, educate the public about the medical benefits of cannabis and most importantly, raise awareness about the opioid crisis plaguing cities and towns across the country.
“Stop using words like ‘weed’ and ‘pot,’ especially when you’re talking about medical cannabis,” says Savino, a Democrat who represents District 23, which includes parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn. “We have to change the way people think about it.”
For Washington, who played 11 years in the NFL and won a Super Bowl with the Broncos in 1999, he wants the NFL and the Players Association, and sports leagues in general, to embrace the cannabis movement, and specifically cannabidiol (CBD), the non-intoxicating compound in cannabis, as a safe alternative to treat debilitating sports injuries to the brain and body.
Washington hopes the NFL and its union will pour more money into marijuana research in the future, and he says he thinks the two biggest problems plaguing the league — concussions/traumatic brain injuries and prescription painkiller abuse — would be mitigated significantly if