Which Successful CEO’s Smoke Weed: The Open Secret

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When you think of a cannabis user, what type of person do you imagine? I bet you are not picturing a Multi-Millionaire because no CEO’s smoke weed, right?

It’s true that most of us have some challenge getting over the ‘stigma’ that has been built in our minds about who the average cannabis users are. In fact, even people who smoke weed themselves are surprised what they consider the average cannabis user to be… a ‘stoner’.

The typical ‘stoner’ stereotype is mostly the result of negative propaganda which started in the US in the 1930’s and has been passed on from generation to generation since then.

Today, there is more information available about cannabis than ever before, and the stigma is fading slowly but is the ‘Stoner’ stereotype going away with it?

Despite the shift, even people who smoke weed and are successful in business, think that they are the minority. Most people still believe cannabis is used by lazy and irresponsible people who like to  ‘check out from life’.

This is actually far from the truth…

Heard of Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Whoopi GoldBerg? Well, these are just a few of very successful individuals who have admitted to using cannabis.

Since the cannabis revolution has taken a full swing, the ‘stoner” stereotype is being challenged from every front, from highly successful business leaders and professional athletes to award winning artists, all coming forward to the fight.

In a recent article, we discussed how artists have been often finding inspiration on cannabis throughout history. Just like artists, high-level business executives also need creativity, so it is not surprising that many find cannabis a good fit.

In this article, I am exploring how cannabis and success (in the tough world of business) can fit together and how the ‘stoner’ stereotype cannot be applied to all cannabis users.

Successful and Powerful CEO’s Smoke Weed

CEO’s smoke weed

Firstly, let me introduce you to some notable people in the field of business that are also cannabis enthusiasts and advocates:

Richard Branson (who I mentioned before)

Richard is very well known for all his business success especially with Virgin. From living on his own island and doing publicity stunts of all sorts, he is living the life of a successful Billionaire.

He recently mentioned to a business audience in Chicago, that,

“If they’re going to have a joint, do it with them. Don’t let them sneak off and do it on their own.”

Branson has been open about his marijuana use for a long time, and he also openly supports the decriminalisation of cannabis.

Steve Jobs

The late, Steve Jobs was the founder of Apple and is well known to anyone in the western world thanks to his technology which has changed the way we live. iPhones and Mac computers have been setting the standards globally.

According to some interviews, he admitted to being a regular user of Marijuana back in the ‘70s. He has been quoted saying,

“The best way I would describe the effect of the marijuana and the hashish is that it would make me relaxed and creative.”

George Zimmer

George who is the Founder and CEO of Men’s Wearhouse, said that he has been smoking cannabis regularly for the last 50 years.

During those years he built his company to 1,200 stores across the US and Canada. He is not only a successful leader but also very successful financially.  He left his role as CEO in 2013 with a personal wealth of nearly 70 million from the business.

He mentioned in a recent Culture Magazine article that “Cannabis softens the competitive side” of his personality and helps him as a result.   

He added that it is still not easy for CEO’s and entrepreneurs to open up about marijuana use unless they live in a jurisdiction where it is legal or already on the ballot.

As a matter of fact, as the legalization of cannabis is gaining momentum in the United States and around the world, there are more and more business leaders opening up about their personal cannabis use.

Richard Branson and George Zimmer are however somewhat unique by admitting to using cannabis. Many business leaders show support for cannabis related investments and for legalization, but don’t open up about personal use.

Peter Lewis & Michael Bloomberg

Both these men are openly supporting the booming cannabis industry in the US as well as decriminalization.

Sean Parker

Sean is the first investor in Facebook who is spending half a billion on cannabis legalization efforts in California.  

Peter Thiel

He is the PayPal co-founder who has invested presumably 10’s of millions of dollars in Seattle based Privateer Holdings.

An ‘Open Secret’

CEO’s smoke weed

The major reason behind many people in higher positions staying quiet about their cannabis use is the fear of the consequences.

It is perfectly accepted by many societies to go and have some drinks after work or even for countries leaders to promote drinking alcohol, however, marijuana is different.

As I mentioned above, cannabis still has the ‘illegal smog’ around it. Among many of us, famous American astronomer, Carl Sagan also thinks it is outrageous.

“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilisation of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”

It is quite easy to see, why it is a slow process for more smart and high achieving entrepreneurs to come forward and talk about their cannabis use.

Some countries are better than others. In Israel, (where medical cannabis has a long tradition) cannabis use is significantly more accepted socially than some other countries, such as Australia or the US. These countries also have high cannabis use however, there is a stronger social stigma around it.

The process is happening though and we’ll only see more leaders and entrepreneurs coming out green.

You are not alone, many successful people around the world use cannabis and its true that CEO’s smoke weed on a regular or occasional basis.

The key to cannabis use is responsibility and that is something that entrepreneurs often can handle well.

Many successful people use cannabis and smoke weed to drive their personal growth and well-being forward and to connect with people around them on a deeper level.

Using cannabis regularly (but responsibly) should not have to attract any type of feeling of ‘shame’.

How to Best Deal with the Stigma

The best antidote is education. Educate yourself about the therapeutic effects of the cannabis plant and work on changing your mindset about your own relationship with the plant.

Cannabis has a wide range of therapeutic benefits to entrepreneurs and busy professionals.

  1. It helps with creativity as we already discussed.
  2. It also helps with managing anxiety and to relax at the end of the day.

American singer and songwriter, Melissa Etheridge says,

“it needs to be legalised across the board. Who draws the line of what’s medical? If a hardworking person comes home and they want to enjoy cannabis, who’s to say that it’s not medicine? It helps in many medicinal ways.”

Working in positions with high responsibility requires us to focus intensely throughout the day, and often under pressure. At the end of the day, we still have to stop our brain and manage to have a good night sleep. Cannabis can help with all of that.

Dr. Sebastian Marincolo has a doctorate in philosophy and published a book called, High – Insights On Marijuana, based on 5 years of his research about how cannabis affects cognitive functions. His studies further support what we discussed above.

“A marijuana high can enhance core human mental abilities. It can help you to focus, to remember, to see new patterns, to imagine, to be creative, to introspect, to empathically understand others, and to come to deep insights.”

Remember that change starts with ourselves.  

It might require a conscious effort to get rid of shame from our life. Cannabis is way more useful and therapeutic to feel shameful about using it. Every little bit counts, so please share this post with anyone that you know that might benefit from it and also feel free to let me know your thoughts using the comments below.

Do you agree that the issue of marijuana will not derail any chance for an individual’s success?

We would like to know your opinion!

Krisztian Panczel

Krisztian Panczel

I am stoked to be able to write for greendorphin.com as I’ve been passionate about the Cannabis plant in its every form since I was 14 years old. I have a bachelor degree of Agricultural Science and have studied plant production for 8 years. Meanwhile, I learned so much about plants that it was hard to miss the outstanding (quite incredible) qualities of this hugely versatile plant. After university I went on to build a career and recently I had the opportunity to return to this most passionate area of my life and have been writing about a wide variety of topics on Cannabis and Hemp.

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