Article by Emily Gray Brosious, Extract
Retired NFL player Eugene Monroe announced Tuesday, Nov. 29, that he is joining the Chicago-based medical cannabis company Green Thumb Industries(GTI) as a full-time partner and will be taking on the role of co-CEO of the company’s Pennsylvania operation.
“As an existing GTI investor, I am excited to join the company as a partner and play a more active role in helping patients gain access to the medicine they need,” Monroe said in a release.
Monroe was the first active NFL player to bring the issue of medical cannabis into mainstream discussions of sports medicine in March 2016 when he began openly advocating for the use of cannabinoids as an alternative to opiate painkillers for players’ chronic pain and sports-related injuries. On July 21, 2016, after seven seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Baltimore Ravens, the offensive tackle retired from professional football at the age of 29.
His retirement came just a few months after announcing his advocacy for medical cannabis as an alternative to the addictive, often dangerous pharmaceutical painkillers NFL players use to fight the physical pain of playing professional football.
“The NFL relies heavily on opioids to get players back on the field as soon as possible, but studies have shown medical marijuana to be a much better solution; it is safer, less addictive and can even reduce opioid dependence,” Monroe wrote in a May 2016 essay forThe Players’ Tribune. “Some studies have also shown that cannabidiol (CBD) — one of the more than 100 cannabinoids found in marijuana — may function as a neuroprotectant, which means it can shield the cells in the brain from injury or degeneration. We need to learn more about this.”