Ross Rebagliati: Olympic Snowboarder Turned Lucrative Businessman and Medical Cannabis Advocate

Snowboarders walking in snow.

49-year-old Canadian and Italian citizen Ross Rebagliati has done it all, from athletics, to business, to advocacy, and more. Rebagliati was born in 1971 in Vancouver, British Columbia and by 1991 had turned pro in snowboarding. In 1998, he was the first person to win an Olympic gold medal for Men’s Snowboarding. However, he was found to have THC in his system after the win and was disqualified. Luckily, the decision was overturned and Rebagliati was given his metal back on the basis that marijuana was not on the banned substances list at the time. Since then, THC has made the World Anti-Doping Agency banned substance list.

His athleticism brought him into the public eye, and in 2008 he was featured and profiled in a full-page coverage from Sports Illustrated. He used this publicity, as well as the financial success that came with a career in pro sports, to invest in multiple successful businesses. Rebagliati developed multimillion-dollar real estate development projects and residential construction in British Columbia and launched a glassware line. In 2013, along with business partner Patrick Smyth, Rebagliati founded Ross’ Gold, a medical marijuana business. This earned him various features in publications such as USA Today, the Huffington post, and The Toronto Sun. It also led to his place on the cover of High Times in 2013. In 2017, R Gold Enterprises Inc. bought the Ross’ Gold Trademark and began building franchises.

Rebagliati continued the theme of marijuana in his business life when he launched Legacy Brands in 2018, once again with Patrick Smyth. The band focuses on edible CBD products. In a statement for Virgin, Rebagliati commented on these types of products, saying “Canadians are opening up more and more to cannabis, and many older people are really understanding as to the benefits of CBD, which is used to treat medical conditions like epilepsy. It is gaining favor among athletes and the public alike. Unlike other extracts, CBD is not psychoactive and is used for sleep regulation, inflammation and anxiety. We are excited. We feel the rest of the country will adopt a health use of cannabis in the coming years.”

Marijuana activism is also an important part of Rebagliati’s life. He educates and advocates for medical marijuana and for weed legalization by the Canadian government. He even sought the federal Liberal Party nomination for Okanagan—Coquihalla, but eventually dropped out. On his activism, he stated to the CBC, “I mean, to think I can be involved in helping people and sharing the knowledge that I have, and a lot of people have about cannabis to the mainstream public. I think it’s my responsibility.”

Marijuana is not the only thing he activates for, however. Rebagliati loves bringing sports to children in his community. He is a member of the Make-a-Wish Foundation and has worked with other charities such as the Whistler Rotary Club, BC Sports Hall of Fame, Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver, Kid’s Help Phone, and The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation. Ross has three children himself. While his life certainly seems busy, his efforts are rewarding for athletes, CDB users, youth, and likely many more.