Former QB Jim McMahon joins Ricky Williams on marijuana panel

From Ricky Williams to Cliff Robinson, former athletes left and right are jumping on the marijuana legalization bandwagon, and another former star has now lent his voice to the cause.

Former Pro Bowl quarterback Jim McMahon spoke Sunday at the Southwest Cannabis Conference and Expo in Fort Worth, Texas on a panel alongside Williams and former defensive end Marvin Washington, explaining how weed can help football players cope with aches and pains.

Via the Fort Worth Start-Telegram:

“I have arthritis pretty much in all my joints,” McMahon, a 15-year NFL player, told the Star-Telegram before the roundtable discussion. “My head problems have been pretty severe at times. [Marijuana] makes all that pain go away. I just forget about the pain.”

Williams, a longtime outspoken marijuana enthusiast, talked about getting high before practice and swapping weed for painkillers, and McMahon described the prevalence of painkillers in the NFL and suggested marijuana is a less dangerous alternative for relieving pain. “It’s a medicinal herb, not a drug,” he said.

McMahon has been through a lot since his retirement in 1996. In 2002 he was arrested for drunk driving, and in 2012 he was sued as part of a fraud allegation brought against the bank whose board he served on (he and the rest of the board settled earlier this month). He has spoken of the uncountable concussions he underwent during his playing career and says he is sure he has CTE. He is also in the early stages of dementia and suffers from a routine buildup of fluid in his head.

One thing that’s clear from the Star-Telegram’s recounting of the Fort Worth panel, McMahon is not just a guy who smokes an occasional joint and believes cannabis should be legal; he’s an all-out pothead.

McMahon said he often smokes marijuana in the mornings and at night, to help him sleep. He prefers indica, a marijuana known for better treating physical pain. He said he uses edibles, too, especially when he travels.

“But I’m old school,” he said. “I love the smell of it. I love the taste of it. So I smoke it quite a bit.”

And, you know, all things considered it’s awfully hard to blame him.

Alex Putterman

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a recent Northwestern University graduate who, in addition to covering Wildcats sports, has worked for and the Hartford Courant and also contributed to Baseball Prospectus, and more. His interests include baseball, rap music, the criminal justice system and some other things that don't seem to go together. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.