By Roland Sebestyén
An American football superstar is facing a lawsuit after a cannabis company accused him and his compatriots of illegally harvesting and selling the drug for millions of dollars a month.
The Independent reports on court hearings which revealed Julio Jones, one of the best wide receivers of the National Football League (NFL), was part of a business that failed to report sales of cannabis since March.
According to the California-based cannabis company Genetixs, the company that filed the suit, Mr Jones and his partners harvested and sold cannabis that was estimated to be worth around $3 million a month.
In the lawsuit, it is stated: “The scope of said defendants’ theft, black-market sales, money laundering, and diversion of assets and expenses without documentation or approval, is staggering and has caused, and is causing, Genetixs substantial and irreparable harm and damage.”
At the same time, the attorney who represents the defendants said the allegations were only “conspiracy theories.”
An attorney from SLW Holdings added: “The vague allegations against SLW Holdings LLC and its members Roddy White and Julio Jones are meritless.
“In May, SLW obtained a temporary restraining order in a related civil case to prevent unlawful conduct involving Genetixs LLC.
“In reply, the defendants argued conspiracy theories that were not proven by evidence in court, nor were they substantiated before any agency.”
Julio Jones is not the first athlete who got in trouble because of cannabis over the last few weeks.
US sprinting superstar Sha’Carri Richardson was denied her place on the USA’s team for the Tokyo Olympics as she failed a cannabis test during the Olympics trials.
Her case caused a massive uproar all around the world as cannabis users and advocates criticised the International Olympics Committee (IOC) for its strict cannabis policy – especially as cannabis use is now legal in many American states and even permitted in the NFL.
Nonetheless, cannabis is still a banned substance in most sports, despite the ongoing easing of cannabis prohibition and a lack of evidence that it is a performance-enhancing drug.
The drug was classified as a “substance of abuse” by the World Anti-Doping Agency since January this year.