Ex-NFL player joins medical marijuana company with ties to Chicago

December 12, 2016
First Harvest Financial

A man who formerly played in the NFL is now a partner with an Illinois-based medical marijuana affiliate.

Former Baltimore Raven offensive lineman Gene Monroe has recently been declared a full-time partner of Green Thumb Industries in Pennsylvania. The business, whose parent company is GTI Investments in Chicago, has also named Monroe the co-CEO.

Monroe, who stands at a colossal 6-foot-5, 300 pounds, was an eighth overall pick in the 2009 draft for the NFL. Before he played for the Ravens, he was a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars. After joining the Ravens in 2013, however, he suffered a torn labrum and a concussion, which caused him to miss a large chunk of his past two seasons.

In June of 2016, Monroe found himself released by The Ravens. Despite receiving numerous offers to join other teams, he decided to retire as a result of the wear and tear the NFL had placed on Monroe’s body.

Monroe had been vocal toward the NFL before his release, calling for the organization to unban marijuana as a medical treatment and fund its research. Furthermore, he urged the NFL to stop “overprescribing addictive and harmful opioids.”

Pennsylvania, which legalized medical marijuana back in April, will be the home of Monroe’s new career. The legalization stemmed from studies that conveyed its efficacy as a medical treatment.

The state has authorized up to 50 retail sellers, 25 growers, and 150 dispensaries to legally operate, with deliberation over business applications planned for next year. Seventeen specific medical conditions, including severe chronic pain, will qualify a patient for medical marijuana in the state. The program is anticipated to be in full effect by 2018.

Rock Island and Oglesby are home to growing facilities owned by GTI, and the company sells its product at Mundelein and Effingham.

GTI also has independent operations in Massachusetts and Nevada, and is currently involved in a lawsuit to obtain a license in Maryland. After touring GTI’s facility in Rock Island, Monroe referred to it as “impressive.”

Monroe was welcomed as “an ambassador” for medical marijuana by Ben Kovler, who is the chairman for GTI investments.

“I don’t believe we should subject players to managing pain with opioids if they have another option available to them,” Monroe said in response to a question asking why he supports marijuana as a treatment option. A 2011 survey conducted by the international research journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence targeted retired NFL players with questions about opioids; more than 50 percent of players who responded had used opioids while they were signed, and 71 percent reported misuse.

Jim McMahon, ex-Chicago Bear, declared earlier this year that he is a staunch supporter of medical marijuana, stating that it simultaneously helped him recover while weaning him off of prescription drugs.

While 29 states have legalized medical cannabis, it is still entirely illegal in the eyes of the federal government. Illinois’s list of medical marijuana patients is far shorter than expected, sitting at only 12,000; extensive background checks, strict qualifying medical conditions, and apprehension by medical professionals is to blame. For more information regarding ex-NFL player joining medical marijuana company, [Click Here].