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Former Heisman-Winning QB Getting Into the Cannabis Industry

July 13, 2017
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Troy Smith passes during the NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, in Baltimore. The Raven won 48 - 3. (Gail Burton/AP)
A former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback will now be competing in the cannabis industry, as former Ohio State and NFL quarterback Troy Smith, along with former Cleveland Brown Eric Metcalf and Ohio high school coaching legend Ted Ginn Sr., have partnered to open a medicinal marijuana dispensary in the Cleveland area.

Together, they’ve set their sights on one of 60 dispensary licenses that will be awarded later this year in Ohio, reports


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The trio has partnered with Jim Buchannan, a Seattle adult-use cannabis store owner who used to live in Cleveland, according to the report. They were in Columbus on Tuesday to comment on proposed draft regulations for Ohio dispensaries.

Smith, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2006—given to the most outstanding college football player each year—played quarterback for The Ohio State Buckeyes, before playing in the National Football League for four seasons. He was a teammate with Ted Ginn Jr., the son of Ginn Sr., who currently is playing for the New Orleans Saints.


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The former quarterback said his own issues with concussions from years of playing football led him to take a long look into medical marijuana.

“Sports is a great thing to watch when you’re snacking on chicken wings, but it’s dead serious,” Smith told “We need to pay more attention to it and be more delicate.”

Ginn Sr., who is widely considered a legend in Ohio high school athletic circles, has had a qualifying condition of his own: cancer. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2012 and told the newspaper that dispensaries can be a way to serve the community, by alleviating medical conditions while also providing jobs.


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The current law in Ohio allows people who suffer from any of the state’s 21 approved qualifying medical conditions to buy and consume medicinal marijuana if it was recommended by a physician.

Per state law, the state’s medical marijuana program needs to be fully operational by Sept. 8, 2018. So far, the state has received 185 applications for 24 cannabis grow licenses. Rules for dispensaries will be finalized during the summer, followed by the application process, where up to 60 dispensaries will get licensed.


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Gage Peake

Gage Peake is a former staff writer for Leafly, where he specialized in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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