Revenant: Kyle Turley discusses reclaiming life through cannabis
Kyle Turley is a former professional football player who, like many athletes, struggled with addiction to painkillers and the physical toll they took on his body and mind during and after his career. Now, Turley and a team of other athletes including Jim McMahon and Eben Britton have found solace in the healing powers of cannabis, and are putting their name and influence on the line to evangelize the gospel of cannabis and its healing benefits.
Turley is the Founder of Revenant, the newest cannabis brand to make its way into Missouri and hit dispensary shelves, partnering with the team at BeLeaf Medical, Revenant aims to give cannabis consumers an alternative to pain management and more control of their body and mind by providing the same high quality cannabis products they’ve become known for across the country.
For Turley, his journey with cannabis has been life-changing. After more than a decade in the cannabis industry, founding Revenant gives Turley the brand and platform to promote cannabis positive attitudes while ensuring the products with the Revenant name represent the quality and value he has sought for himself and others.
“Revenant, in its namesake, is a reclamation of your life,” Turley explains. He’s driving from his home in Tennessee to St. Louis in advance of the launch of Heaterz in SWADE dispensaries as we speak. Turley, despite his physical stature and intimidating presence, is thoughtful and warm. He commands the attention of the room, not through force, but through the enthusiasm he emits when talking about his journey and the Revenant brand. We’ve met a handful of times over the years, and the one thing Kyle Turley does better than anyone else is bring the level of excitement in the room to a peak when talking about cannabis.
A personal connection to cannabis
“My personal experience, Jim’s personal experience, Eben Britton, the other guys we’ve had around this, we started this with that message. This is the resolution we found that has got us off all these pills and is helping us live this life post-football that I’ve been showcasing now for almost a decade.”
“We’ve all had this similar experience where we’ve been able to reclaim our life. And that’s saying a lot when you’re talking about being addicted to painkillers at the level that we have been as athletes, and the years of abuse to our bodies from eating them up, playing this sport. We don’t want sympathy, we want our medicine.” It’s this sentiment that resonated with Turley long before Revenant. For years, the biggest part of his involvement in cannabis was in education and pushing to destigmatize a plant that he, and so many others, found tremendous benefit in.
“We found it, and each found it on our own. We didn’t have someone bring cannabis to us the same way, and so we’re having the same experiences and came to this in the same way. Individually, we were running alongside each other for about five years or more in the industry, working with different companies. I started a CBD company in the beginning, about ten years ago. Then I started doing stuff in California during the Prop 215 days, when it was about the collectives and donations and all that. So I was already moving products and trying to put my name out there in cannabis. Jim was as well, working with other companies. Eben was the host of Mike Tyson’s podcast, and they built a massive podcast platform there under Eben Britton being the host. And so as we were running, respectively, looking at each other as we turn our heads for those years, we just decided, let’s come together, and Revenant was born.”
“Our mission is to continue to give people the opportunity to make their choice in health care. Cannabis being something that they need to understand and need to try so that they can get off all those harmful pharmaceuticals that are killing everybody. There’s no death rate attached to cannabis, and you can find resolutions, like we have, that are beyond what you could even possibly imagine you could receive.”
“[In my experience] when you go to these doctors and they tell you all this potential of what these pharmaceuticals are going to do for your life, none of that comes true. None of it. And with cannabis, we found a miracle.”
Turley has been criticized at times in the past for claims he’s made about the healing benefits and true power of cannabis, with some saying his claims are over the top or beyond typical results, but his claims are personal. He speaks about the impacts cannabis has had directly in his life, and like any medicine, results may vary, but his message is one of hope and discovery.
“[Cannabis has] cured my neuropathy, my wife’s cancers are gone, my daughter is a type one diabetic. They said she would be dead if we weren’t doing what we were doing with her, and they want to know what that was. We said, the only thing we’re doing differently than any other parent you’re talking to is giving CBD to our kid every day.”
“I’ve not used one pharmaceutical in almost ten years. Not an aspirin, Aleve, nothing. I have plates and screws, and I’ve had multiple surgeries, and I need multiple more. I know, I do not just believe, I know, I never needed one of those pills outside of antibiotics.”
It’s these stories, and the passion that Turley has for cannabis education, that at times make him a lightning rod. But he’s comfortable in that role. His passion for cannabis is what drove him to found the brand, and he has chosen to use the cannabis industry and Revenant as a megaphone to amplify his advocacy.
“Our message gets lost when it’s just a message. If we’re not in the industry putting our money where our mouth is and really trying to share what we’ve found, it’s going to be lost.”
“You look at all these states where they’re putting a limit on THC, I need to be able to push Rick Simpson Oil and the importance of it and the need for high levels [of THC]. I know I need to be involved in this industry to be able to have more validation in what I’m talking about. It can’t just be me using this plan. I need to be able to know everything about this plant so that I can sit on these stages in front of these people. Because I understand the business and I understand where it’s going and what we can do for it, too. On the political side, I’ve lobbyed in DC, and have done all these things to fight for cannabis.”
While Revenant provides Turley further opportunity to vocalize his message and push open doors, the brand also provides something equally important, control.
“I understand that if I don’t put my name behind products and continue to push this message out there, it seems like – no offense to any of the operators – but what you’re going to get is just a bunch of bubble gum stuff out there that’s completely detached from the message that needs to be heard about this healing plant and how cannabis can help people.”
“I don’t believe in recreational marijuana. Sure, we live in America, and everybody can do what you want when you’re using cannabis, you’re going for an experience to help you ultimately, and if you just did it for fun, you’re going to realize real quickly, ‘I need to look into this as a medicine because this is way too good and I feel great.’ If we don’t put our name behind it and our message behind it and our mission behind it, then it’s just going to keep getting watered down,” Turley says.
A shared vision
It’s the mission and the message that plays heavily into selecting partners in new markets, and Missouri was no different.
“If we don’t continue to partner with great companies like BeLeaf and people like Mitch [Meyers] who have the same goal and the same message, then we’ll just be out like the rest of the fly by nights and the message will go away.”
BeLeaf has been a medically focused cannabis company even before medical marijuana was legalized. One of only a few licensees in Missouri approved to grow cannabis strictly for use in treating intractable epilepsy, BeLeaf was the first company in the state to produce cannabis extracts legally.
“Mitch was one of the first people I met in Missouri way back at the beginning. Mitch was one of those people from day one that I just connected with and kept eyes on as far as what she was doing. I knew her background and she has great connections with some of my friends and people there, locally, that I stay connected to and have, since I played with the Rams. I just knew that her intent and her reasoning were the same as mine. After talking to her, she’s the same as us. She’s put her corporate image and her corporate name likeness on this plant and risked everything in the corporate world to do this, as far as her reputation is concerned. We just have to keep surrounding ourselves with people like that because those are the people that are going to win in this industry.”
“We have to keep pushing forward. It gives me more motivation all the time when I hear these ridiculous statements that are made about cannabis. And being able to articulate how they’re wrong is really important in this conversation, and I just don’t think you can do that if you’re not putting your money where your mouth is in this business.”
That faith in Meyers and BeLeaf has led to a partnership that Turley is enthusiastic about, A company that prioritizes the input of the Revenant brand and team, as much as its mission.
“We’ve got a great partnership with BeLeaf. The goal, for us personally, is to ultimately replicate our brand in every state, getting tissue cultures to all of these cultivators and having certain strains be represented under our brand.”
For Turley and Revenant, the view of cannabis as a wellness and treatment product means that consistency and replicable results are of the utmost importance.
“There are strains that I use daily. This is my medicine. I want to make sure that as Revenant grows we get it done right.”
“Ultimately, having very strain-specific items, with strains specific to our brand. We will be bringing Jack Herer, XJ 13, and Skywalker OG, these core strains. SFV OG, Blue Dream, these are the strains that have spoken to our collective group, we have certain ones that we want to replicate in every state that we believe are truly medicinal strains that resolve very specific issues.”
“The goal is to have the ability for a patient, we see our consumers as patients, we know this is a medicine; our patients will be able to travel to any state we’re licensed in and be able to have their medicine and know that it comes from the same place. That’s ultimately our goal.”
As Turley brings Revenant to Missouri, finding a partner in BeLeaf that he feels best represents his passion and messaging, he continues to look ahead, while recounting the progress that he has seen.
“We’re excited about our partnership with BeLeaf and coming into Missouri. All we can do is continue to listen and learn from the people that are on the ground. That’s that’s the biggest thing for me personally, in this whole industry is that I’ve gone to all these different places across this country to make sure that I know who the people are that are on the ground that are doing it right. The ones that have been there since day one and that’s the benefit that I have, knowing that our company is in good hands.”
Sacrifice for progress
“It’s been a really interesting ride, to say the least. It’s been surreal, to be honest with you, to see the ignorance and where we’ve come from to where we are. I was in cannabis back when [cannabis approval ratings] were in the 60s or the 50s, where we were just barely winning in percentages.”
“I was looking at that and going, ‘That’s wrong, There’s way more people out here that are average people, everyday people that are using this.’ The conversation was being driven by this reefer madness. Because you just didn’t have people with a voice standing up for this. That was my initial intent in starting, with adding my name.”
“It’s cost me a lot of money. It’s cost me big-time coaching jobs. I could be making millions coaching football right now, and I can’t because people want me to be quiet and they don’t want me to talk about cannabis as loudly as I am. But I’m not giving this up.”
“I tell everybody, this is your opportunity to take your life back. There is something for everyone in cannabis. If it is not Revenant, keep trying the other brands. You are going to find something that changes your life, that opens your eyes to an opportunity that you never thought possible when it comes to health and wellness. And if you’ll suffer through the process, you can come out on the other side the person that you’ve always wanted to be and it’s inside of you and you just have to wake it up.”