John Salley Discusses The Cannabis Industry, Family, And Speaking At ICBC


John Salley has long been one of the most entertaining people in the sports world and beyond. I first became a fan of John Salley when he played for the Detroit Pistons and helped defeat my beloved Portland Trailblazers in the NBA Finals. He always played tough and gave other teams’ front lines fits. Since retiring from basketball in 2000 (championship year with the Lakers, also at the expense of my beloved Blazers!), John Salley has done all types of things. John Salley is an accomplished actor, game show host, radio show host, sports show host, the host of just about every other type of show, was featured in a Luther Vandross music video, and a ton of other things that on their own are extremely cool, let alone all being done by the same person.

A vegetarian since 1991, and a vegan since 2008, John Salley is prolific when it comes to promoting the benefits of a plant based (raw vegan) lifestyle. John has spoken at numerous events on the topic, has contributed many articles to respected publications, and has spoke in front of Congress in support of the Child Nutrition Act in an effort to increase vegetarian options in meals served in public schools. John Salley is actively involved with Operation Smile, PETA and diabetes awareness in addition to his vegan advocacy.

I was fortunate enough to link up with John Salley to talk about, among other things, how cannabis fits into a plant based lifestyle. “If you are someone that finds that smoking cannabis helps, you should definitely try eating it.” John Salley said. “Adding the cannabis plant to your diet, in addition to other plants, provides a lot of wellness benefits.” John Salley would go on to describe how he first got into Chinese herbs in 1989 as a way to try to be healthier to extend his professional basketball career, and that led him to becoming a vegan. Salley pointed out that if you want to be as strong as an ox, look at what the ox eats (plants). Elephants eat plants, giraffes eat plants. A lot of the strongest creatures in the world eat plant based diets as John points out.

John Salley first started using cannabis for medical purposes on a regular basis after having foot surgery in his late 30’s (although he had consumed cannabis intermittently). “My doctor told me he could prescribe me Vicodin or medical cannabis. I was on TV at the time and I needed something that was effective but also allowed me to do my job. Cannabis was perfect.” Salley said.

At one point Salley was studying to become a biologist, which is evident when you talk to him about cannabis. He knows a tremendous amount about how the body works, about wellness strategies, and how cannabis fits into the equation. John encourages people to become vegans to get the most out of their cannabis experience “The less toxins you have in your body from factory foods the more you will experience the desirable effects and wellness benefits of cannabis.” Salley said.

My favorite thing about John Salley is that he speaks his mind and is very quick to talk about cannabis reform. I have seen him making pro-cannabis comments on the record more times than I can count. When I asked John about it he said, “That’s the top way I support reform. Whenever I can get in front of a camera and promote cannabis, I do.” A quick search on YouTube brings up numerous videos of John Salley talking about cannabis and how athletes should be allowed to use it. That’s a tremendous help to the reform movement given John’s following and reach.

“It’s definitely time for professional sports leagues to legalize cannabis. I’m not sure how probable it is or when leagues will do it, but it’s certainly possible. Anything is possible if Donald Trump can become President (Salley chuckles). What we need is more of these athletes to step up.” Salley said. We would go on to talk about Kyle Turley, who is a retired NFL player that has been pushing for cannabis reform. “I watched what he had to go through and what his family had to go through while Kyle was dealing with his issues. He was dealing with a lot of psychotic issues due to injuries he endured as a player, and it has been amazing to see his transformation after he started using cannabis.”

“Many athletes, especially NFL guys, have to deal with various ailments and if they can’t consume cannabis, many end up consuming large amounts of alcohol or pharmaceuticals, which are obviously both more harmful than cannabis. These guys need something to help them calm down in addition to helping them heal. Athletes are trained and taught to be warriors. You can’t train athletes to be killers and then expect them to instantly be shepherds. Cannabis helps.” Salley said.

John entered the cannabis space years ago when he invested in Canopy Growth Company, the parent company of Tweed. The company has grown to become the largest company around dealing exclusively in the cannabis space. John Salley got in on it early, which is a prime example of John’s business savvy that I personally feel is going to set him apart in this space. “I could have invested in a lot of different things, but I saw what was going on in the cannabis space, what the company was doing, and where things were headed. I got in early and it has proved to be one of the smartest investments I’ve ever made.” Expect more on this later in a separate follow up article.

John Salley is launching his own cannabis company in the near future, along with his daughter Tyla Salley. Tyla is a very talented person in her own right, and I can’t wait to see them do big things in the not-so-distant future. John wants to build his company with his daughter taking the lead, which as a family man myself, I respect that a great deal. The Salleys are going to be rolling out various products, some of which I was told about behind the scenes. I have heard of a lot of ideas since I started blogging about cannabis back in January 2010, but John had some that I had never heard of before, and that I was truly impressed with. One thing that I am allowed to talk about is that some of the products will be edibles, and in true John Salley fashion, they will be vegan edibles.

As for John’s own consumption preferences, he is very picky about his cannabis. He still loves flower, and definitely likes using one of his many bongs (I’m told he has an epic glass collection). Salley also loves his vapor pen, which goes with him wherever he goes these days. “I always make sure that my hotel room has a balcony, if you know what I mean.” Salley said with a laugh.

With a track record of proven business success, I know that John Salley has a bright future in the cannabis industry, and I look forward to telling people more about what he has going on once things start rolling out. John Salley has been a very vocal supporter of the cannabis movement, well before the legal cannabis industry existed. That combined with his unbelievable resume is why I’m recommending that everyone check him out at the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference. John Salley is going to be doing the celebrity interview at the event. When I asked him what he was going to be talking about, all he would say is ‘the future.’ He said it in a way that made me more curious than I have probably ever been in my life.

The future of the cannabis industry is bright, but also full of uncertainty. I can’t wait to find out what John Salley has to say about what is to come. In addition to John Salley the event will have Henry Rollins giving a keynote address, as well as Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom speaking about cannabis, in addition to many other world class speakers. There’s also an after party that Rollins, Salley, and Tommy Chong will be at. It doesn’t get more epic than that. Tickets are still available but going fast. The International Cannabis Business Conference takes place on February 17th in San Francisco.

A special thanks to John Salley for taking time to chat with me. Expect updates on his projects in the future, and make sure to remember the name Tyla Salley. She is going to do BIG things in the industry going forward. Trust me. Stay tuned!

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