Former WWE Intercontinental Champion Val Venis recently spoke to the Two Man Power Trip Of Wrestling Podcast. You can see highlights below, and the full interview at this link.
What brought on his pursuit of educating himself on Cannabis:
"Up until I was about 27-28 years old I was very much anti marijuana. I was anti drugs period at the time. I started noticing there was a lot of guys that I had wrestled with or had shared a locker room with at one point in time or that I became really good friends with that have ended up with their feet in the grave and eventually six feet under. It seemed to happen over and over again and one thing that I noticed was the fact that none of my friends, none of my colleagues that were using marijuana instead of taking pharmaceutical pills that none of them were having any medical issues whatsoever. They were still in the gym training, they weren't waking up hungover and weren't dying at an accelerated rate by any means. Nobody died from marijuana and in contrast anybody that was utilizing pharmaceutical pain medication, anti imflammatories, anti axiety medications, sleeping medications and any kind of pharmaceutical drugs that I think were pushed down all athletes throats not just in WWE but all athletes throats (did). You just recognize that it's like common sense. These people were falling off like flies being fumigated from a home. I started to recognize these instances to be FACT, people using marijuana were staying alive and not only alive but were staying healthy and people using big pharmaceutical medications were dying at an accelerated rate."
The wrestler death that made him realize that he had to do something to try and help others:
"I was still taking pharmaceutical drugs and was always on pain pills and every time I got injured, whether it was my elbows, my neck, my shoulder I would always go back to what the Doctor would prescribe me and that was anti inflammatories and still my friends were dying from it. As time went on I started to notice that we have been lied to about this plan and my friends are dying left, right and center from big pharmaceutical pills and I think the straw that broke the camel's back was when one of my best friends, Andrew "Test" Martin passed away from pharmaceutical pain meds. That's when I said okay enough is enough and that's when I really took a stand, came off the pills and I didn't have to go to rehab. My body was addicted to the pills and did have to go through two weeks of horrible withdrawals. But the second week of those withdraws I started utilizing marijuana on the advice of a friend. It didn't get rid of the sickness of the withdrawals but what it did was make the withdraws bearable. It made it easy to just wait out the withdrawals and when I came out on the other end I never looked back and that was in 2008."
See Also: Vince Russo Explains The Art Of The Vignette, How WWE Made Sure People Knew Val Venis
WWE testing for Marijuana and fining Superstars for usage as part of the Wellness Policy:
"To me it's not a stringent Wellness Policy at all. I could drive a Mack Truck through their Wellness Policy. The reality of the situation is I was on those pills and I was testing positive for those pills yet I passed my drug test every single time. The reason I passed my drug test every single time was because as soon as I'd test positive for Hydrocodon, Dr. Black from Omega Sciences who is the main Doctor at the testing facility would call me up and ask for a valid prescription for Hydro codon pills. I would send him a valid prescription and two weeks later I would get a letter in the mail saying CONGRATULATIONS you passed your wellness exam. The fact that you have a valid prescription for these pills doesn't change the fact that people get addicted to them and die. "Test" had a prescription for them. Almost every wrestler has had a prescription for them. They don't test for it, they say they test for the quantity of hydro codon in your system. That's bullsh*t they don't test for the quantity they test for the presence. Even though you may have a prescription for 90 (pills) you may have 1000 sitting in your house right now. The testing policy is a step in the right direction but still we are allowing WWE talent to utilize Heroin in a pill yet we will fine them $2500 every time they test positive for THC."
But why fine a talent for an infraction rather than taking a stand against the Federal policy:
"What they tell me is that they have to fine guys for pot because they are a corporation and they have to follow Federal law. But what their actions are telling me is that WWE thinks it's more important to follow Federal law than the health and well being of it's talent and that is a sad situation. Is it WWE's fault? Probably not. I think the Federal Government has a huge hand in this. The Federal Government has to take a step forward and change the policy in regards to Cannabis prohibition. However that being said WWE is like the NFL and who is starting to explore the usage of marijuana as medical for the NFL players and I was hoping that WWE would stand up and take the lead on that. It's WWE that's lost more talent with these pills and it's one of those things that WWE could easily stand up and say we understand Cannabis is against Federal Law, however we've lost a lot of athletes to these big pharmaceutical drugs and if athletes want to use Cannabis we are not going to punish them for it."