When most people read about Tyrone Ross’s life, they tend to focus on his achievements as a world-class athlete. Blessed with speed to burn and incomparable tenacity, he focused his attention on the track at an early age and honed his skill to the point that he earned a college scholarship and then qualified for the Olympic trials.
But he is much more than just an accomplished athlete. As the saying goes, he “contains multitudes.”
His journey started with a Guyanese father and American mother who raised him and his sister in Metuchen, New Jersey.
The country of Guyana has a complicated relationship with cannabis. Though located in South America, just north of Brazil, many Guyanese identify with Caribbean culture, where cannabis use is prevalent. But not in Ross’s family! His parents made it clear that cannabis was a drug that would only lead to problems. For that reason, Ross has never tried cannabis with THC.
Neither of his parents graduated from high school, and Ross’s determination propelled him through high school, as a first-generation graduate, and then on to college at Georgia Institute of Technology and later Seton Hall University. Georgia Tech has an athletic endowment in Ross’s name, an accomplishment he prizes.
After college, Ross decided to pursue a Wall Street career and become financially literate. This journey proved to be eye-opening as Ross learned how money works and noted how many citizens are left without banking. (It is estimated that 12 to 15 million U.S. citizens are unbanked).
His own family functioned on a cash basis, suspicious of banks and feeling victimized by high bank fees. This is typical in many communities, and Tyrone sees cryptocurrency and Bitcoin as a potential solution. In simplest terms, cryptocurrency is “Internet money” that flows immediately without fees. Bitcoin is merely a brand name of a cryptocurrency, just as Coke is a brand name for soda.
Just as we have a class issue in banking, Ross, now a financial advisor and investor, notes that we have a class issue within the cannabis industry as well. He feels that Black people and people of color “have a responsibility to get others … into the industry.”
His solution is to get a “seat at the legitimate table” and then to use connections, hard work, and intelligence to involve those who have been left behind.
As with other facets of Ross’ life, his work ethic, bubbly enthusiasm, and resolve have resulted in unexpected opportunities, including with a Canadian company called CanaFarma.
CanaFarma is an organization devoted to health and wellness, and in Ross they found a world-class athlete who has been using CBD for sports recovery for about two years. The company has engaged him as a brand spokesperson. With Ross’s animated and clear style of communication, CanaFarma’s CBD infused gum Yooforic, with 50 mg of CBD per piece, is sure to be noticed in the market.
The key to CanaFarma’s success, Ross believes, is education. By providing information and resources to address the wellness of one’s body, mind, and spirit, the consumer can see how CBD may help them to manage anxiety, sleep issues and pain. In other words, CanaFarma’s message is about wellness while “doing public good.”
One topic or theme that kept emerging during our conversation, is that Ross knows that his success is built on the support and love of others, and he is committed to paying it forward. Whether it is the student who wins his Georgia Tech athletic scholarship, or an immigrant who figures out how to use cryptocurrency, or the person impacted by the War on Drugs who can now prosper in the cannabis industry, Ross is there to “give a voice to the voiceless.”
And it’s a good thing he moves so quickly, because he has a lot to do!
Learn more about Ross at tyroneross.io.
Rob Mejia is president of the cannabis education company Our Community Harvest and Adjunct Cannabis Professor at Stockton University. He lives in New Jersey and enjoys tennis, cooking and home repair.