Retired Jamaican Olympian Michael Frater yesterday opened his 4/20 Sports Therapeutic Bliss — a medical cannabis dispensary — with the hope of exposing and solving injuries as experienced first-hand by him.
The 38-year-old Frater, who was forced into retirement due to persistent knee injury in 2017, opened the doors to his medical facility in Manor Park.
On hand with their blessings were Olivia “Babsy” Grange, the minister of sports; Christopher Samuda, president of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA); former 100m world recorder holder and Frater's long-time teammate Asafa Powell and cricketing legend Chris Gayle.
Frater, who is also third vice-president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), said marijuana was once forbidden, but after experiencing it's medicinal prowess decided to expose others to its benefits.
Frater, who played his part in Jamaica's sprinting prowess and dominance of the 4x100m relays with the likes of Usain Bolt, Powell, Yohan Blake and Nesta Carter, said he struggled with a niggling knee injury and for years couldn't find a solution.
He visited the University Hospital of the West Indies and a hospital in Monaco, France, and after two weeks of testing, was still in the dark. But his introduction to the cannabis solved everything.
“I tried it and within a month I was feeling brand new. I started studying about it and I realised that this drug that has been a taboo for most of my life is a miracle drug,” said Frater, with a wry smile on his face.
He continued: “It's just about doing good business, establishing a recognisable strong brand that should take us, not only across Jamaica or the Caribbean, but across the world.”
“I am not used to being the best in Jamaica or the region, but being one of the best in the world and that's what I want to do with this brand,” Frater pointed out.
Meanwhile, Grange, who cut the ceremonial ribbon with Frater, praised the former athlete as coming from “a special group”.
“What is important about what you doing is that you are not just an athlete who at the end of your active career sit down, fold your arms and wait for something to happen. You have set an excellent example for others to follow,” said Grange.
“I always knew that you were special. There was a group of you during your era of active running that I considered special athletes,” she added.
“Usain has demonstrated his ability as a businessman and today you are showing the world that you are a serious businessman and continues to contribute to track and field and always being sensitive and caring to those who follow you and this morning I really wanted to commend you,” Grange added.
JOA President Christopher Samuda also had high praises for Frater, especially for his attempt at preservation of life and full health of body, mind and soul.
“Apart from the matter of business and sport, this is a commitment that have characterised your professional career and I have no doubt that it will characterise your business forever. On behalf of the JOA, we are proud to be apart,” he said.
Former 100m world record holder Powell, who also attended the function, paid his tribute to his former teammate and friend Frater.
“From ever since Michael has always been the brains amongst us and business-oriented and I always admired that about him,” said Powell.
“I have always known that he would make this step and he has tried a lot over the years and keep pushing and now I am very happy for him. He is a businessman and I respect him for that,” Powell added.
Cricket icon Gayle, who years ago opened Triple Century, an upscale bar and restaurant in New Kingston, was in support of Frater's venture.
“I am a big supporter of Michael's career and now his business venture, and from a sportsman's point of view, there is life after your original career and to actually venture in a business is good for him and we are here to support him 100 per cent,” said Gayle
Meanwhile Frater, who recently established his athletics club Titan, will be opening his sports lounge 4/20 Hookah Lounge soon.
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