2017 | Government

Former Baltimore Ravens Player Details New Medical Marijuana Shop Coming to Silver Spring

Player joined the marijuana company's CEO to talk about their plans

Pete Kadens, left, and Eugene Monroe, right, at the meeting in Silver Spring Monday night

Andrew Metcalf

Standing in front of a large presentation screen in the Silver Spring Civic Center, former Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Eugene Monroe spoke Monday night of the medical benefits he has experienced by using marijuana instead of dangerous painkillers to reduce lingering pain from multiple surgeries related to football injuries.

The Owings Mills resident played seven years in the NFL before retiring from football after being released by the Ravens in June 2016. Prior to his retirement, he became an outspoken medical marijuana advocate and a partner in a growing marijuana production and retail business—Green Thumb Industries (GTI), which he said Monday he invested in two years ago.

GTI is one of two companies that were awarded a license by the state to sell medical marijuana in Silver Spring’s state legislative District 20, which encompasses Takoma Park and downtown Silver Spring, plus the neighborhoods of Four Corners and White Oak.

The Maryland General Assembly legalized medical marijuana in a 2014 bill signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley. Since then, the state’s Medical Cannabis Commission has licensed businesses to sell, process and grow the drug.

“I’ve seen [GTI] execute on all the promises that they’ve given to the community,” Monroe said. “And now we’ve gotten our license here in District 20, so we’re excited about bringing access to medical cannabis to patients who may come to our dispensary.”

GTI CEO Pete Kadens joined Monroe at the community forum attended by about two dozen or so people. Kadens said the company is planning to open its marijuana dispensary either in downtown Silver Spring or just outside. He wouldn’t provide the exact address because he said lease negotiations were still underway.

The Maryland market for medical marijuana is expected to launch in October 2017, according to GTI, and after that the store plans to open.

A slide from the presentation about the Silver Spring dispensary. Credit: GTI

The company was one of 102 businesses to receive licenses to sell medical marijuana in the state and Kadens said he was meeting with the community to provide as much information as possible about the business. He described himself as an entrepreneur who had previously started a solar panel company before becoming interested in the “anthropological” effects of marijuana prohibition, such as legal issues and drug-related violence in low-income communities.

Kadens said the Silver Spring store would employ eight to 10 full-time employees as well as part-time hourly workers who will be paid from $15 to $18 per hour with benefits. He said the store will sell marijuana buds and concentrated forms of the active ingredients—THC and CBD—in products such as oils, topical creams, capsules, tinctures and pills. GTI estimates the store will serve about 60 to 150 patients per day.

Another slide from the presentation. Credit: GTI (click to expand)

No one attending the forum openly opposed the proposed store during a question-and-answer session, although some asked about security and employment possibilities. Kadens noted that Terry Gainer, the former Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate and U.S. Capitol Police Chief, oversees the company’s security and the store will use a security perimeter to ensure only individuals with Maryland patient ID cards are admitted.

Based in Chicago, GTI operates four retail stores in Nevada and Illinois and cultivation centers in Massachusetts, Illinois and Nevada. For the Silver Spring store, the company is required to purchase marijuana it sells from cultivators licensed by the state. Kadens noted that transferring marijuana across state lines is a serious offense that could result in federal criminal charges.

He said that if Maryland were to change the law to allow adult recreational marijuana use, GTI would take steps to also sell the drug to adults for nonmedical purposes, but only if the community is “OK” with the idea and if the county zones its building for that use.

The Maryland General Assembly legalized medical marijuana in a 2014 bill signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley. Since then, the state’s Medical Cannabis Commission has licensed businesses to sell, process and grow the drug.

Physicians certified by the state will be permitted to prescribe marijuana for conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s Disease, seizures, muscle spasms, severe nausea and severe pain.