“People don’t understand I was in this business for 20 years, so long before it became vogue long before people jumped on the bandwagon.”
There are more than a few interesting things about longtime television personality Montel Williams that many people may not be aware of. For starters, he began his professional life in the US Marine Corps, and was actually the first Black Marine selected for the Naval Academy Preparatory School.
Also in addition to hosting the Montel Williams Show for 17 years and winning a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host, he’s been involved in cannabis reform for decades, pushing for and helping to pass medical legislation in several states. His use of cannabis for personal healing led Williams to launch the product line Inspire by Montel, a collaboration with the Massachusetts-based Freshly Baked Company.
Williams is still busy working in media and entertainment—he currently hosts Military Makeover with Montel on Lifetime, as well as the shows Competitive Edge and the Balancing Act plus podcasts including Let’s Be Blunt with Montel, a “cannabis lifestyle and interview show.”
We caught up with him at the New England Cannabis Convention, where he wasn’t just another celebrity posing with fans. As is clear on his podcast and with his brand, Williams is an expert on various aspects of cannabis culture, from the science side to branding and business.
Did you ever think that cannabis would be a part of something that you did in your career in media?
My journey has been crazy. When I look back on my life there are multiple times I should not even be alive, so I’m happy I’m here, this is another facet of it I’m really proud of.
Having turned to cannabis in dealing with opioid abuse, how has [the former] played a major role in your healing?
I have been using cannabis … people don’t understand I was in this business for 20 years, so long before it became vogue long before people jumped on the bandwagon. I literally was traveling around this country trying to ensure the state passed laws to allow patients like me to have access to medication, and I’m going to continue to do so. We know for a fact what opioid abuse by the pharmaceutical industry has done to the masses in the world. We recognize that cannabis is probably the only exit drug, one of the only exit drugs from opioid addiction that has been a valuable medication for over 5,000 years. So it is time for us to start allowing people to choose the medication they want rather than have someone shove it down their throat by an industry that’s for nothing but praying on the sickness of other people.
As a veteran and someone who advocates for the healing of PTSD and trauma, can you talk about RTM?
RTM is a protocol that is … right now is proven to be the only psychological protocol in the world that can cure PTSD. It will remit the symptoms of PTSD in nine out of 10 people in less than five hours without any pharmaceutical whatsoever. So we are looking at a world in the next five to six years where mental health is going to be one of our biggest issues, PTSD one of our biggest issues. We know for a fact anyone who has spent more than two days in the hospital with COVID is suffering from PTSD right now. Those are the first responders, and doctors who treated those people suffering from PTSD, not only warfighters who are still suffering from PTSD. This cure has been out there just like cannabis, it’s been vehemently fought by those who are in trench bureaucrats who would rather prey on the illest of people rather than help them cure it.
For you, how has cannabis helped you heal personally?
I have been using cannabis on my journey with MS for 20 years now, and it literally took me off of the opioid addiction … I should say almost, but I really was close to being addicted to opioids and I broke away and I broke away 20 years ago and I never went back because cannabis did the same shit for me.
We have seen an increase in Black-owned businesses in the cannabis industry from product owners to dispensaries. How much does it mean to you to see Black-owned businesses develop in the industry?
We look like there has been an uptick but there really has not been. I think African-American-owned business in the cannabis space is still under 5% nationwide, yet 85% of us bore the brunt of the war on cannabis for 100 years. When we really start to recognize the fact that this industry was built on the backs of people of color, then the industry may open its doors and allow us to participate.