Santo Domingo — Just days away from being inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, Dominican Republic-born David Ortiz, aka ‘Big Papi’, has announced the launch of a line of cannabis products in partnership with Rev Brands, and using products of Dominican origin, in association with the brand Rev, a wholesale cannabis supplier.
‘Papi Sweet Slugger’ is the first in a series of products to be launched, Rev CEO Keith Cooper told Bloomberg Radio.
Cooper explained that the first product is a marijuana joint wrapped in fake tobacco paper.
The second product s a sports recovery balm, which athletes can use to rub on their joints and muscles after exercise, while the third product is still “a bit of a secret”, Cooper said, and part of which will be developed in the Dominican Republic.
“The third product is a bit of a secret, but part of it is going to be developed in the Dominican Republic by women who are housewives who have independent status. And we want them to develop a wooden device for us, send it to us, and we can include it in a product that is kind of secret right now,” he said.
Other products include a vape cartridge and edible products made with Dominican chocolate, and which Ortiz, who is now a US citizen, sees as a way to contribute to developing the economy of his home country.
According to the former Red Sox player, he discovered the benefits of cannabis, which helped him manage pain and stress.
“Cannabis has helped me relax, sleep better, manage stress and heal physically,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz was born in 1975 and is a former designated hitter and first baseman, and who played in the American League from 1997 to 2016, primarily with the Boston Red Sox after playing parts of six seasons with the Minnesota Twins.
At the Red Sox, Ortiz played a leading role in ending the team’s 86-year World Series championship drought in 2004, and also won championships in 2007 and 2013, the year in which he was named the World Series’ Most Valuable Player.
Ortiz retired from Major League baseball in 2016 ranking sixth in American League history with 541 home runs, and is regarded as one of the greatest clutch hitters of all time. He had 11 career walk-off home tuns during the regular season and two during the 2004 postseason, the first of which clinched the American League Division Series. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame earlier this year, and which is his first year of eligibility.
He survived an assassination attempt in 2019, when he was shot in the back at a club in the Dominican Republic, an attack that was attributed to a case of mistaken identity.
Growth of the cannabis business in Latin America
The baseball star’s new business venture took many by surprise in his native Dominican Republic, where recreational and medical cannabis use and consumption is illegal, but where Ortiz spends much of his time.
But the cannabis industry is growing elsewhere in Latin America. In recent days, Ecuador exported processed flower and cannabis tincture to Switzerland for the first time, initially with a quantity of just five kilograms, while Colombia has also begun to export dried cannabis flower, with its first shipment of 600 kilograms.
Meanwhile, Honduras is pondering the feasibility of entering the business, estimating that the hemp trade in the Central American country could generate up to $2.92 in revenues, equivalent to 11.7% of the GDP at 2019 levels.
Argentina recently passed a law regulating the production and commercialization of cannabis plants, their seeds and derivatives, for medicinal and industrial use.
Meanwhile, Uruguay enacted a law eight years ago that allows for cannabis growing for medicinal, industrial and recreational consumption.