OH: Ted Ginn Sr., Troy Smith & Eric Metcalf Eye Cleveland For Medical Dispensary

Ron Strider

Well-Known Member
Three big names in Cleveland football are eyeing multiple sites in the Cleveland area for a medical marijuana dispensary.

Ted Ginn Sr., long-time football and track coach at Glenville High School, former Ohio State University quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith and former Cleveland Brown Eric Metcalf have their sights set on one of 60 dispensary licenses to be awarded later this year.

The three have partnered with Jim Buchanan, a Seattle recreational marijuana store owner who used to live in Cleveland, and were in Columbus on Tuesday to comment on draft regulations for dispensaries.

The group announced their interest in a South Euclid location in May. They said Tuesday they're also looking at sites in Cleveland, Warrensville Heights and Lakewood.

Smith said his own head trauma from years of playing football led him to look into medical marijuana and to pursue a business. Smith said he's only now beginning to understand how banging his head against other players has affected his daily life.

"Sports is a great thing to watch when you're snacking on chicken wings, but it's dead serious. We need to pay more attention to it and be more delicate," Smith said, adding that he is certain medical marijuana can be helpful to people with brain injuries.

Ohio's medical marijuana allows people with one of 21 medical conditions to buy and use marijuana if recommended by a physician. The condition list includes spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, severe and chronic pain and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which can only currently be diagnosed after death.

Ginn, who coached Smith at Glenville, has had another qualifying condition -- cancer. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2012, underwent surgery and outlived the odds of survival.

Ginn said he sees a dispensary as a way to serve the community, both in alleviating medical conditions and providing jobs. Ginn said the dispensary would also help educate people about the medical benefits of marijuana.

State regulators are still working through the details of Ohio's program, which must be fully operational by Sept. 8, 2018 per state law. The state received 185 applications for 24 marijuana grow licenses last month. Rules for dispensaries will be finalized this summer and applications for up to 60 dispensary licenses will be accepted soon after.

Buchanan said the state's initial dispensary count is too low and should be at least 120. He also said he's not worried that Cleveland, Lakewood and other cities still have moratoriums in place banning dispensaries.

"Normally, when you don't want to do it, they say they don't want to do it. A moratorium is saying they want to see it unfold," Buchanan said. "I can't see Cleveland locking out medicine for a large community like that. That would create a huge problem."


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