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Troy Smith Wants To Get Into The Medical Marijuana Business

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A former Ohio State quarterback and a former Cleveland Browns running back are two members of an investor group seeking a state license to sell medical marijuana. They hope to help athletes with brain injuries, one of the conditions for which the state has approved the use of medicinal pot. Kabir Bhatia of member station WKSU in Kent reports.

Ohio is awarding 60 dispensary licenses later this year, and one group likely to apply includes Ted Ginn Sr., long-time football coach at Glenville High School, Troy Smith, a former Ohio State University quarterback and Heisman trophy winner, and former Cleveland Brown Eric Metcalf.

The group is looking at sites in South Euclid, Cleveland, Warrensville Heights and Lakewood and is partnering with James Buchanan, a Seattle-native who has spent much of the past two decades working in Cleveland’s music business. He says his partners are very interested in a specific way medicinal marijuana can help athletes.

"Troy Smith and Eric [Metcalf] have expressed how they -- especially Troy -- regarding collisions and [the] physical aspect of the medicine that he feels it will be phenomenal for it,” Buchanan says.

One of the 20 conditions for which the state has approved medical marijuana is traumatic brain injury. (See the complete list below.)

Smith was arrested in 2016 for marijuana possession and driving under the influence, but reached a plea deal and did not serve jail time.

Buchanan adds that Ginn is interested in the educational aspect of a dispensary.

“Whether it's regarding the agricultural aspect or processing aspect or a dispensary aspect -- or a type of side industry such as soil or other things that spin off of it,” Buchanan says.

Buchanan has been operating a dispensary in Washington for about two years.

Ohio's medical marijuana law sets aside 15 percent of the licenses for economically disadvantaged minorities. But Buchanan says his group is as qualified -- if not more qualified -- than others, regardless of race.

He adds that if all goes as planned, his group could open its first dispensary here by next fall.

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