Darren McCarty spent most of his life self-medicating. A 15-year NHL veteran known for bruising opponents on the ice and hoisting the Stanley Cup trophy four times, McCarty treated his physical and mental health problems with prescription pills and bottles of Jack Daniels for more than a decade.
But once he discovered cannabis, McCarty’s addiction and pain went up in smoke. And now that weed is fully legal in his adopted home state of Michigan, the ex-Red Wings enforcer is ready to start a second career in America’s cannabis industry.
According to a new profile from the Detroit Free Press, McCarty has signed on to be a partner and spokesperson for Pincanna, a medically licensed cannabis grower and processor in Pinconning, MI. But after years of watering personal outdoor homegrows, McCarty is ready to leave the cultivation to the experts, and help preach the benefits of legal weed to a growing consumer base in the Wolverine State.
“If you've seen my progress over the past 10 years, you've seen me go through different stages from the alcoholism, which led me to this plant saving my life,” the 47-year-old former hockey star told the Free Press. “I feel like I’m 35. I’m not lying. I feel like Benjamin Button.”
With his own legal weed partnership inked, McCarty joins a slew of retired pro athletes — including former NFL player Martellus Bennett, ex-NBA forwards Al Harrington and Matt Barnes, and the entire NHL Alumni Association — in the growing American green rush. And like a number of his fellow celebrity ganjapreneurs, McCarty credits cannabis with literally saving his life.
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McCarty first tried cannabis after a particularly nasty surgery in 1999, when a friend introduced him to Rick Simpson Oil. After a week of eating the thick black oil instead of his pharmaceutical painkillers, the hard-hitting enforcer said he felt unparallelled relief, and never looked back.
“I was on all these pills, and it was driving me crazy,” McCarty said. “And I'm an insomniac, so I can't sleep, and that had a lot to do with all the drinking.”
Now, with input on strain selections and marketing at Pincanna, McCarty is ready to reach new heights — and take home a new cup.
“I'm a four-time Stanley Cup winner, they’re a 45-time Cannabis Cup winner,” McCarty said of Pincanna. “I'm going to be the first athlete with a Stanley Cup and a Cannabis Cup.”
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