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It’s official – Eugene Monroe, an outspoken medicinal cannabis advocate and exceptional American football player, has retired from the National Football League (NFL). Monroe was the first active NFL player to publicly advocate for allowing medical cannabis consumption among players. Following his advocacy and public statements about medical cannabis, the Baltimore Ravens let him go. Although he was approached by many other teams, Monroe made the difficult decision to retire from the high-paying NFL, citing his “mounting injuries and a fear they would become debilitating” if his NFL career was continued.

Who is Eugene Monroe?

(Source)

Eugene Monroe is an American football player from Plainfield, New Jersey, who played seven seasons for the Baltimore Ravens, and has retired at the age of 29. Prior to his Ravens career, Monroe played for the Jacksonville Jaguars for five seasons. Monroe was an offensive tackle for his previous teams.

Why Did Monroe Leave the NFL?

Monroe noted that he deals with a lot of pain from his accumulated injuries, pain which could only legally be combatted with painkillers, which Monroe does not enjoy taking. “I don’t want to have to continue to consume pills…I don’t want to do that,” stated Monroe, who added that he will continue advocating for medical cannabis for players in the NFL. Monroe also saw the complications and problems former NFL players – many of them his friends and colleagues – suffered due to their time in the NFL. Monroe noted that he did not want to take anti-inflammatories or opioids which might damage him in other ways unrelated to game-play injuries.

What Will Eugene Monroe Do Now?

Despite leaving the Baltimore Ravens, turning down requests to play for other teams, and then leaving the NFL altogether, Monroe noted that he would still advocate for medical cannabis for NFL players and former players. Although the NFL has made no official statement regarding new policies on cannabis consumption among NFL players, Roger Goodell (NFL Commissioner) stated that medical advisors are studying its efficacy and possible uses for the plant. Monroe is currently working with the NFL Players Association and the NFL Players Union in order to advocate for increased cannabis research in relation to NFL player injuries and possible protections.

What Other NFL Players and Former Players Support Medical Cannabis Research?

Charlotte’s Web (CW) Botanicals began its “When the Bright Lights Fade” campaign this spring in an effort to inform the public and NFL players and former players about the necessity of research into medical cannabis treatments. Former players advocating for medical cannabis and working with CW Botanicals include former Broncos footballers Jake Plummer and Nate Jackson; Ryan Vandrey of Johns Hopkins’ School of Medicine and Marcel Bonn-Miller of the Department of Veterans Affairs are two researchers working on the science behind cannabis’ healing and preventive properties.

Although I’m sad to see Monroe leave the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL, I completely understand his reasons for wanting to stay healthy and happy for the duration of his life, and I understand his passion for medicinal cannabis advocacy, because I have it, too. I think Monroe and other former NFL players have a lot to do right now in helping to convince the NFL that cannabis could help protect its most valuable asset – its players – from degenerative brain disorders and extensive injuries, not to mention ease their pain. What is the NFL waiting for?

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