Ross Rebagliati finds a groovy way to score on his stoner reputation

Matthew Coutts
National Affairs Reporter
Daily Brew
The Olympic gold medalist snowboarder is aiming to open a medical marijuana dispensary

Would you trust your marijuana needs to former Olympic athlete and notorious pot smoker Ross Rebagliati?

CBC News reports that the former snowboarding bad boy is trying to use his celebrity status to open a medical marijuana dispensary in, where else, Whistler, B.C.

Consider it a high-minded concept from someone who knows the business. Or at least the product.

The company, Ross' Gold, could be open by March and aims to capitalize on changes to Canada's marijuana laws.

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A website for Ross' Gold suggests the main concern of the business is not finding a market, but awaiting the legalization of marijuana.

The company’s business model reads:

The Canadian Government is only now privatizing the medical marijuana industry, and the company intends to build traction and revenues through the sale of legal retail items before other players enter the marketplace.

This will give the company a competitive advantage while the application processes are vetted out by the government. Ultimately, the company intends to successfully apply to become a medical marijuana producer and build a franchise model to license stores throughout Canada.

When and if marijuana is decriminalized in Canada like it has been in the American states of Washington and Colorado, the opportunity would also exist for the company to become a government licensed supplier to the general public.

It may have finally worked out for Ross Rebagliati, that pioneer of Olympic snowboarding who so famously nearly lost his gold medal after testing positive for marijuana.

The Canadian icon (is that still right?) won the first gold medal in snowboarding at the 1998 Winter Olympics. It was quickly stripped away after he tested positive for traces of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. The decision was later reversed, primarily because marijuana wasn’t on the list of banned substances, and he regained his crown.

Since then, Rebagliati has attempted to turn his notoriety into longer-lasting success. He has worked as a real estate agent since retiring from the sport. And he briefly ran for the Liberal Party of Canada, in the riding of Okanagan-Coquihalla, but pulled out ahead of the 2010 federal election.

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Last year, his stoner reputation worked against him in a custody battle when his estranged wife alleged he smoked marijuana in front of their child. Even during the court case, Rebagliati did not deny smoking pot.

Rebagliati was the most famous pot smoker since Cheech and Chong. That reputation might generate enough of buzz for his new business to get it off the ground.