We all remember Ross Rebagliati, right?
He was the happy-go-lucky fellow who, at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, was briefly stripped of the gold medal in snowboarding for having traces of marijuana in his system.
Well, he eventually got his medal back and is now — 15 years later — looking to cash-in on the infamous incident.
Rebagliati is launching a new company that hopes to sell Ross' Gold branded marijuana cigarettes — and other pot-related products — in Washington and Colorado, the two states that recently voted to end pot prohibition.
"Our plan is to enter these legal markets in the U.S.A. and position ROSS'GOLD to be at the forefront of this emerging industry," he told Yahoo! Canada News.
To date, Rebagliati says he’s spoken to growers in Washington and Colorado and could have his product for sale online, at designated stores or even his own retail outlets as early as next year.
Incidentally, the legal sale of pot in Colorado is set to begin in January while the Washington State Liquor Control Board has until December 2013 to write the rules of their initiative.
There's also some outstanding questions about whether the federal government will choose to intervene.
Nevertheless, Rebagliati remains positive.
"We are ahead of the curve and on the cusp of a new industry. It's reminiscent of the beginnings of snowboarding. For example, when I started snowboarding in 1987, zero ski resorts allowed snowboarding in Canada — prohibition. And when some did, in 1988, you needed a licence to ride. I chased the dream and ended up with an Olympic gold medal 10 years later," he said.
"Two things are repeating themselves so far. Prohibition and the licence. I have been through this in the past and recognize it again here.
"Let's see where we are in ten years.”
The Vancouver-native also intends to set-up medical marijuana dispensaries in Canada, once new rules are implemented in early 2014.
[ Related: Why it’s time to legalize marijuana ]
Rebagliati's Olympic past hasn't always been a boon to his pocketbook.
In 1998, the corporate community shied away from sponsoring an athlete who was tied to marijuana. His ability to compete was also hindered — Rebagliati was barred from entering the United States, and other countries, because he had publicly admitted past drug use.
"My career came to a grinding halt. It was a really dark time," says Rebagliati.
"Most people just assume that I made millions of dollars from winning gold. The reality is that I didn't. I didn't come close. The year I won the Olympics I made $30,000 for the year."
Hopefully his new endeavor will help him make up for some lost income.
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