Former Giants star Tiki Barber backing cannabis startups, sees NFL application

Former Giants star Tiki Barber backing cannabis startups, sees NFL application

Former NFL running back Tiki Barber is ready to embark on his next business venture by investing in young marijuana and cannabis startups. 

“It’s simply a business opportunity,” Barber told Fox Business. “We wanted to put a group together that could attack this cannabis space in an intelligent way that makes sense for not only the business opportunity but also for minority communities and create a message of social progress.”

As co-founder of Grove Group Management, Barber is hoping to help startups overcome evolving regulations on the marijuana business. A main area where he wants to change the conversation is within the NFL. 

“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.”

Barber, who played nine seasons with the Giants, said he doesn’t use marijuana but has “dabbled with CBD-infused products for pain management.”

“It’s an evolving conversation with the league and I’m sure come 2020 or 2021 with a new collective bargaining agreement going to be negotiated, it’s going to be a talking point,” Barber added. “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.”

ProFootballTalk reported earlier this offseason that the league could make changes to its substance-abuse policy, specifically how it relates to marijuana, in the next collective bargaining agreement. As the policy currently stands, players can either be fined or suspended for positive marijuana tests. 

Barber also shed light on his experience with the league’s process for drug testing, indicating it was easy for players to cheat the system.

“We always used to call it like the ‘dummy test’ because you know when the test is going to happen so just be clean and as long as you’re not in the program you can probably get away with it even if they technically know that it’s happening,” Barber said.