A self-described “longtime consumer” of marijuana, former NBA All-Star Clifford Robinson has long been an advocate for legalized weed in Oregon, even selling the substance under the name “Uncle Spliffy” (a take on his hoop nickname Uncle Cliffy) and now he’s taking that fight to Connecticut.
The former UConn star has joined the state’s Coalition to Regulate Marijuana, according to a press release on his website, UncleCliffy.com. The news comes a week after Robinson lobbied alongside Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler in support of a bill that would pave way for marijuana lounges in Oregon.
“I have seen the failures of cannabis prohibition in Connecticut firsthand,” Robinson said in a statement. “Cannabis prohibition disproportionately harms minority communities wherever prohibition exists, and Connecticut is no exception. The citizens of the great State of Connecticut deserve a better policy like the one that the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana is proposing. Other states have made similar moves with great success. Legalization clearly works and it’s beyond time for the Connecticut Legislature to step up and do what is right.”
Robinson has promoted marijuana use for medical and wellness purposes. He has also lobbied for legalization in an attempt to rid the justice system of “unnecessary encounters with law enforcement,” increase revenue for the government and combat the cartels and gangs who “control the market.”
Robinson twice faced marijuana charges from police during his playing career and thrice was suspended for violations of the NBA’s substance-abuse policy. The 1993 Sixth Man of the Year and 1994 All-Star sells pre-rolled “Uncle Cliffy” joints, among other branded items, in Oregon dispensaries.
Two-thirds of NBA teams currently play in cities that feature legalized marijuana in some form, and the league seemed headed for a tipping point in the discussion after Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and New York Knicks president Phil Jackson spoke out in favor of the substance’s benefits this past winter. Given a chance to address the policy in the new collective bargaining agreement that was signed in January, the NBA and its players’ association failed to address the burgeoning issue.
Count Robinson among those who believe the benefits from marijuana — ranging from calming nerves to treating the aches and pains that come with being a professional athlete — outweigh any negative repercussions it might have on a player’s career, particularly when compared to alcohol consumption.
A second-round pick by the Portland Trail Blazers out of UConn in 1989, Robinson played for five teams over 18 seasons in the NBA, including the first 12 as a standout on the Blazers and Phoenix Suns. He last played 50 games for the New Jersey Nets as a 40-year-old during the 2006-07 season.
Robinson joins a growing list of members on the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana, including former law enforcement members, medical personnel, politicians, clergy and academics.
His press release cited a Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University study that suggests 63 percent of the state’s voters support the legalization of marijuana. If put to the vote and passed, Connecticut would join fellow New England states Massachusetts and Maine in legalizing recreational marijuana.
Robinson suffered a “minor brain hemorrhage” this past March and released a statement soon afterwards alerting fans and friends, “I’m doing well and in the process of getting better.” The 50-year-old’s recent increase in public support of legalized marijuana suggests that recovery is going well.
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