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Former NFL Players Seeking Ohio MMJ Dispensary License

Two former NFL players and the father of a current player are seeking one of Ohio’s 60 medical cannabis dispensary licenses, Cleveland.com reports. Former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback Troy Smith, ex-Cleveland Brown Eric Metcalf, and Ted Ginn Sr., father of New Orleans Saints wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. and longtime football and track coach at Glenville High School, have partnered with Jim Buchanan, a Seattle recreational dispensary owner, on the project.

The group is eyeing potential locations in South Euclid, Cleveland, Lakewood, and Warrensville Heights. Both Lakewood and Cleveland currently have moratoriums banning medical cannabis dispensaries. However, Buchanan explained that a moratorium “is saying they want to see [the industry] unfold.”

“I can’t see Cleveland locking out medicine for a large community like that,” he said in the report. “That would create a huge problem.”

Smith, who was coached by Ginn at Glenville High, said he began looking into medical cannabis due to his own trauma from his football career, which spanned six seasons: three in the NFL, one season in the now-defunct United Football League, and two in the Canadian Football League.

“Sports is a great thing to watch when you’re snacking on chicken wings, but it’s dead serious,” Smith said. “We need to pay more attention to it and be more delicate.”

Last year, an ESPN survey of active NFL players found that 61 percent believed fewer players would take pain-killing shots if the league would allow medical cannabis use, with 41 percent saying it would be more effective at controlling pain. The NFL Players Association has said they are seeking to amend the league’s cannabis policies and last year convened a committee to look into allowing players to use cannabis as a pain management therapy. A number of team owners have also indicated support for “decriminalizing” cannabis use for players.

Smith said he is certain medical cannabis can be useful to people with brain injuries. Ginn said a dispensary will serve the community by providing jobs and helping people alleviate symptoms of medical conditions.

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