Photo Credit: MARC SCHWARZ
Eugene Monroe, who played seven seasons in the NFL, knew what message it was important to deliver at the Medical Cannabis Job Opportunities Forum Aug. 20 at the War Memorial in Trenton.
“At this community job fair, we’re educating people not just on the business opportunities but on how cannabis works. Through that, people might be inspired to create businesses of their own and not just be employed by us,” said Monroe, who is a partner with Green Thumb Industries (GTI), which co-sponsored the forum with the African American Chamber of Commerce NJ.
GTI, which has medical marijuana facilities in seven states and will soon open five dispensaries in another (Ohi0), is hoping to add New Jersey to its list. Devra Karlebach, GTI NJ chief executive officer, announced at the event that the company was submitting applications for the six new alternative treatment center licenses the state Department of Health will issue this fall. GTI applied for a license in each of the state’s three regions.
Monroe and Karlebach were two of the four GTI representatives who addressed the crowd and took questions about the medical benefits of cannabis and the potential opportunities with the company.
Monroe, a Plainfield native, was the first active NFL player to openly advocate for the use of cannabinoids to treat chronic pain and sports-related injuries. Monroe was drafted eighth overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2009 NFL Draft and later joined the Baltimore Ravens via a trade in 2013.
“I think if you spoke to everyone in the room, I’d say over half that come, really don’t understand what’s going on,” Monroe said. “They know the state has legalized cannabis for medical use and they’re talking about recreational use – but what does that mean for me if I’m interested in working or creating a business of my own?
“This is an industry that needs a lot of pieces.”