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Former NFL QB Jim McMahon wants marijuana off banned substances list

A group of former NFL players is backing up the campaign that former Baltimore Ravens lineman Eugene Monroe started to get medical marijuana removed from the league's banned substances list.

At last week's Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo, former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon advocated for marijuana as a medicinal alternative for pain management.

McMahon told the audience that marijuana "is not only an effective painkiller, but it is also far safer than the opioid painkillers that have destroyed thousands of American families," according to the New York Daily News.

Monroe, a free agent, is the only active player to publicly support the use of marijuana. After his release by the Ravens, he said in a statement on Thursday that he won't stop his push to include medical cannabis as a viable option for pain management in the NFL.

"I will do everything I can to ensure the generations of NFL players after me won't have to resort to harmful and addictive opioids as their only option for pain management," Monroe said.

McMahon, who was diagnosed with the early onset of dementia and other issues that have been linked to the kinds of concussions he suffered over the years, said marijuana has helped him cope with the pain.

"There's so many uses to this plant," McMahon said. "Hundreds of thousands of people are dying from [painkillers], and there's not one case of people dying from the hemp plant."

The sports panel was moderated by former Giants defensive lineman Leonard Marshall and included McMahon, former Broncos tight end Nate Jackson, former Broncos wide receiver Charlie Adams and former Jaguars offensive tackle Eben Britton.

Britton compared his experience with traditional painkillers during his career with the effects of the cannabis.

"Juxtaposing my experiences with pharmaceutical drugs like Vicodin and Percocet that made me angry and irritable, frustrated, didn't get rid of any of the pain, made it difficult to sleep, increased my heart rate and made me feel crazy. On the other side of that there's cannabis that helped me sleep, put me into a healing state of being where I was relieved from stress and anxiety as well as feeling the pain relief."

The three-day conference at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York was a gathering of professionals and advocates from nearly every facet of the emerging marijuana industry.