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NBA Star Turned Pot Mogul

February 27, 2018

Cheddar's CannaBiz explores the business of marijuana. During this episode Cheddar's Hope King and Baker Machado talk with a former NBA star capitalizing on cannabis, a CEO of a newly traded company on the Nasdaq, plus a group fighting for the legalization of weed.

Former NBA star Al Harrington is looking to become the next marijuana mogul. He is taking on this emerging market with the introduction of his own line of CBD products that will roll out this summer. Harrington explains how marijuana can impact the pro-sports arena.

"We are going to be industry leaders," says Harrington. "I'm making it for athletes. Who can tell the athlete story better than I can at this point?"

Harrington says using cannabis as pain relief treatment has helped him recover from injuries and multiple surgeries from his pro-basketball career.

Cronos Group started trading on the Nasdaq Tuesday. The vertically integrated company became the first marijuana company to join a major exchange in the United States. The company's CEO Mike Gorenstein explains how Cronos is capitalizing on the emerging market in Canada.

"Entering the U.S. market is really big for us," said Gorenstein. "It continues to show the acceptance the Cannabis industry is getting, and the recognition of how important Cannabis can be."

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging AG Jeff Sessions and the DEA on marijuana's classification of a Schedule I drug. The ruling marks a defeat for the plaintiffs who include a 12-year-old girl who treats her epilepsy with medical marijuana, a former professional football player, and a former U.S. Army Combat Veteran. An attorney on the case, and one of the plaintiffs share their reaction to the judges decision.

"It's heartbreaking," said Plaintiff Jose Belen who is a U.S. Army Combat veteran. "At the end of the day this is medicine. There are millions of Americans that deserve compassionate access."

"We are understandably disappointed," said Attorney Lauren Rudick. "We all knew this case would be decided on appeal, this was an outcome we were prepared for. The fight goes on."

Medmen is one of the largest cultivators and distributors of cannabis in the state of California. The company has its own grow facility in Los Angeles and Cheddar visited the facility to learn all about cannabis cultivation and the seed to sale aspect of the industry.