Jake Plummer’s Pot Crusade

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Jake Plummer stands in a grassy meadow on a breezy spring afternoon, a Rocky Mountain peak framing his backdrop. He poses heroically, if just a little self-consciously, for yet another medical marijuana-related photo shoot.

The meadow Plummer stands in is behind a laboratory tucked into a nondescript corporate campus in Boulder, Colorado. The laboratory transforms cannabis and hemp into products that—according to preliminary research and a host of testimonials—can do everything from relieve pain to prevent seizures to, just maybe, repair a damaged brain.

Plummer is a leading advocate for the medical marijuana movement. But despite the rugged setting of his photo shoot, he is hardly a lone voice in the wilderness. Players such as former Ravens tackle Eugene Monroe and Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan now stand beside him. So do the mothers of young children whose lives were saved by cannabis-derived chemicals. And former players coping with the debilitating aftermath of their NFL careers. They want the NFL to relax its hard-line stance on cannabis in all its forms and support research into medical marijuana’s potential as a neuroprotectant, a substance that can protect (or even repair) a damaged brain.

Standing in Plummer’s way? A league slow to change, cautious/suspicious lawmakers and a stigma against marijuana and its stereotypical users.

Those are powerful foes. But with current players starting to speak out and parents shouting from the mountaintops about miracle cures, Plummer has much more than a Rocky Mountain breeze at his back.

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