Kevin Durant is one of the latest public figures to lend a helping hand to the cannabis space. However, instead of cashing in like other celebrities, he’s more focused on a plan to destigmatize the industry.
Earlier this month, the Brooklyn Nets player and his investment firm, Thirty Five Ventures, in addition to its sports media network, Boardroom, inked a multi-year deal with cannabis e-commerce company Weedmaps — dubbed the “Yelp for pot.” The inclusive collaboration will reportedly combat the many misconceptions around cannabis and advocate for its legalization.
Moreover, the new partnership includes a sponsorship deal with Boardroom that will help advance the conversation around athletes’ use of cannabis and its wellness properties that can be beneficial for recovery. In addition to that, Boardroom will also work with Weedmaps to produce an original content series, which is tentatively slated to debut in 2022.
“Now more than ever, there is so much opportunity for growth in the cannabis industry as well as the removal of any remaining stigmas around its use,” Durant said in a statement. “As the technology leader in the industry, Weedmaps has consistently been at the forefront of change over the last decade. In partnering with Boardroom and Thirty Five Ventures, they’ve shown an even bigger commitment to innovation.”
After the events of Sha’Carri Richardson’s suspension from the Tokyo Olympics on account of her cannabis violation, the conversation around the plant and how athletes are allowed to use it is long overdue. Through this new partnership, the hope is that it will add value to discussions surrounding cannabis’ stigma in sports.
“As the largest technology provider in the sector, we are serious about our responsibility to lead the national discussion around cannabis and the need for cannabis regulations to be updated across the board,” Chris Beals — Chief Executive Officer of Weedmaps — said in a statement. “This partnership with Kevin Durant, Rich Kleiman, and the team at Thirty Five Ventures is a pivotal step forward in our ongoing efforts to break down stigmas surrounding cannabis, especially in the sports industry.”
On a recent episode of the “Out of Office” podcast, Forbes reports that Durant shared how things have now “come full circle” and that he’s excited about having the chance to “tell stories around [cannabis] and seeing how we can parallel the sports world.”
“It’s been incredible just to work through the deal,” he added. “Now, to have it signed, sealed, it’s exciting.”