As draft blew through town, ex-NFL players met to talk marijuana at Union League

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Former NFL players met at the Union League with board members of the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp on Apr. 28, 2017. From left: former Raider Lance Johnstone, ex-Eagle Todd Herremans, Ananda Hemp CEO Eric Wang, philanthropist Barry Lambert, ex-Flyer Riley Cote, and former Saint Marques Colston.

While the NFL draft dominated the Ben Franklin Parkway on Friday, several former players met at the Union League to discuss medical marijuana with cannabis entrepreneurs, scientists, and advocates. 

The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp, an institute housed at Thomas Jefferson University, held three days of panel discussions at the venerable private club on Broad Street about the plant and its potential applications. 

Retired players — many of them budding cannabis entrepreneurs themselves — attended a Friday evening meet-and-greet with the center's board members. Players included Todd Herremans, former offensive lineman for the Eagles; Lance Johnston, former Temple University standout and defensive end for the Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Vikings; and Marques Colston, former wide receiver for New Orleans Saints. They were joined by Riley Cote, once an enforcer for the Flyers, who in recent years has become an outspoken advocate for hemp. 

Also gathered in the Union League's McMichael room were Barry Lambert, the Australian banking giant and hemp entrepreneur who last year donated $3 million to Jefferson's cannabis think tank;  Lambert's business partner Eric Wang, CEO of Ananda Hemp; Judy Wicks, restaurateur and noted activist; Mahmoud ElSohly, the only federally-approved grower of marijuana in the United States; Charles Pollack, director of the Lambert Center; Lindy Snider, medical marijuana entrepreneur and Lambert Center board member; Stephen Spinelli, president of Philadelphia University, and others.