Former NFL Player, Denver Native Bo Scaife Has Big Plans for His Cannabis Business

Former NFL player and Denver native Bo Scaife has big plans for his Colorado pot project.
Former NFL player and Denver native Bo Scaife has big plans for his Colorado pot project. Courtesy of All Pro Farms
The CBD and legal cannabis boon for retired athletes turned endorsers has largely disappeared, but Bo Scaife isn't here to make a few advertisements and run. The Denver native, former NFL tight end and founder of All Pro Farms has turned his passion for the plant into a family business.

"I fought with my parents over weed all of my life. Truth is, Black kids could get sent to jail for that. Now my dad has his [marijuana worker] badge, and he's doing deliveries for us," Scaife says. "This is my hometown, so it makes too much sense for me not to do this."

Launched last fall after five years of planning and construction, All Pro Farms is a cannabis cultivation located in Walsenburg, a small town about an hour north of New Mexico. Scaife has an expansive playbook for his 140-acre operation, including an eventual "winery for cannabis" that allows visitors to tour the grow and try out All Pro Farms products. Right now, though, he's just trying to get his flower brand off the ground at Denver dispensaries.

We chatted with Scaife to learn more about his cannabis and athletic experiences, get his thoughts on college sports and discover just how much football and the pot industry have in common.

Westword: What pushed you into the cannabis industry after football?

Bo Scaife: I wanted to be a part of the gold rush when I first got into this. I had just retired from football and was going through that transition every athlete faces, where you're getting this second identity and a new career. I don't want to coach, so I went to business school to prepare for my next move. Being from Colorado and a cannabis consumer since high school, it's been a part of my life. I suffered injuries a lot in the early part of my career, and cannabis was something that kept me on the path or brought me back where I needed to be from anxiety and depression. I tore my ACL three times in five years, and I was literally watching my dreams go down the drain. My chances at the NFL seemed non-existent. Opioids were making me sick, and I was partying. I needed to throw that shit away, and cannabis really helped me navigate through that situation, and my college and pro careers. It has always showed up for me during these adverse times of my life.

Deciding to jump into the industry was me turning pain into passion. Cannabis offered an opportunity to do that, so I wanted to get involved. In 2017, I started looking at buildings and properties all over Colorado. I eventually found 140 acres off a frontage road in southern Colorado. Young Bo would've thought, "I'm just gonna grow a shitload of weed down here," but I needed to experiment. First it was outdoor, then greenhouses, and then more stuff. The biggest challenge was finding the right people, and I definitely took lumps finding them. When you're sitting on that much land, there's so much opportunity in the industry, but it's still so regulated.

What do you want to get out of this?

To me, it's a real estate development project that is cannabis-friendly. I want to grow the best weed in Colorado and create stuff that helps people. The only way to do that is to make sure you have the right facilities, so I had these facilities built from the ground up for cannabis. As I learned more, though, it has turned into trying to build a wellness resort in southern Colorado. That's what I want All Pro Farms to turn into eventually. Phase one is getting the cultivation facilities up and launching the brand. Now I can get product out there and help educate consumers like me.

What phase of the development are you in right now?

We're building out the cultivation phase right now. I had to uproot utilities first, like water lines and power, so it's been a huge project, but I want it to be like a winery for cannabis.

Has the current down market in cannabis affected your plans for this?

No. Prices have gone down, so building the brand is very important right now. We're doing well with that, and we came out really hot. At first I was one foot in, one foot out, because I wasn't comfortable with being the face of something like this, given my previous career. But now I love this shit.

How have the challenges you faced playing football, whether it be multiple major injuries or the cold world of professional sports, helped you in the cannabis world?

Football and the lessons I learned playing it were definitely the foundation. It built me to withstand everything I've faced in business. This isn't harder than football. When you've got to play the Baltimore Ravens one week and the Pittsburgh Steelers the next, that's hard [laughs].

There's a lot of pressure, too. The real thing that has sucked in this transition is that you're working with the cream of the crop every single day in the NFL. You're next to a high performer who demands the best of you, so it makes you want to be the best. Business isn't exactly like that. You have to go find high performers, and nourish and build other people into high performers, so they can help you build what you're trying to build. Cannabis has those lazy stigmas, which I don't really buy into, but some people are okay with being mediocre, and the NFL just doesn't allow you to be that.

Sounds like you've had to manage expectations of others, which isn't uncommon for former pro athletes in new lines of work. How hard is it to communicate and coach up people who didn't exist in a world full of blunt criticism and extremely high standards?

In football, we call it "soft," but most people don't know how to take constructive criticism. In football, we got graded and judged in front of our peers. You'll be watching film of the game, and you got fucked up in a play and everybody saw it — probably in slow motion over and over and over with a red light on you. It's like, "Damn, coach, hurry up." But you take that criticism, and it motivates you to go out there and work harder to make sure that never happens again. We were uniquely trained, and I think that serves me right in business and as a leader. I want to show people that they can be more, but they have to put in the work and be disciplined. That's what coaches do for you.

That's interesting, because pro athletes are in the top 1 percent, yet they have people constantly trying to chip away at their ego. I know of some cannabis growers and extractors who could use that.

Growers do have a lot of ego. They think they grow the best and that their intellectual property is worth millions of dollars. I had these conversations with some of my guys early on: If everyone is so good at this, then why aren't they rich already? Why are we growing in a trailer? There has to be a level of ego surrendered to be in this space, because masters in other industries are already getting paid.
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Scaife was an all-conference tight end at Texas before playing six seasons in the NFL.
Courtesy of All Pro Farms
How much about the plant have you learned since you started All Pro Farms?

I love the plant. Giving people an inside look — people like politicians, CEOs and people who dabble in it but still might be against it — at the garden and cycle of life is really cool. You plant a seed, watch it grow, nurture it and harvest it; it's a cycle of life. I think taking that approach changes a lot of perspectives.

How long until we see a current pro athlete appearing in a cannabis ad?

I think we have to wait on the federal legalization part, but it will probably happen at the local level sooner than later. Once we take the wall down between cannabis and consumer stigma and understand it's a commodity with medicinal benefits, I think it will be happening sooner than later. I'm excited to show guys that not only is this an awesome business opportunity, but also how the benefits of the plant can help them with certain things. I'm not saying it's the fountain of youth or a magical medicine, but it can definitely help people.

College athletes can now appear in endorsements, too, and we haven't found any laws or NCAA rules banning a Colorado collegiate athlete from endorsing a cannabis product. Would All Pro Farms ever seek out a college athlete as a spokesperson?

One thousand percent. That's the network I want to tap into and be around, and helping them grow as a mentor. Those are the young me's, so yes, 1,000 percent.

You were highly recruited out of Mullen High School in Denver, yet ultimately played football for the University of Texas. If Deion Sanders were coaching at the University of Colorado at the time, would that have changed your decision?

What's crazy is that the guy who recruited me to Texas actually stole me from CU's recruiting class that year, and I joined the number-one recruiting class in the nation at Texas. That guy is now on Deion's staff at CU! I've already been up there to talk to the guys.

I actually played against Deion in the NFL. He was on the Ravens playing safety at the time, so I'd always grab him and say, "What's up, Deion? Let me get those gloves or a wristband or something." As a kid, he was an idol. I played football and baseball growing up because of Deion and Bo Jackson.

Did your cannabis use ever jeopardize your football career?

I failed a couple of drug tests in college. It's probably safe to say that it jeopardized my career, but I've learned that when something is for you, the obstacles in your way and the people hating on you don't matter. When you look back at a lot of the people and coaches in Texas, a very conservative state, they were just misinformed. There was so much they didn't know — and those same people who ridiculed me are calling me now for topicals, edibles and flower. They're suffering from their own struggles, but it made me kind of look at it and go, "Wow." Men who are sixty and seventy years old, coaches and ex-players, are looking to me for help.
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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for
Contact: Thomas Mitchell

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