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Pennsylvania will gain about $7.9 million from marijuana permit applicants this year. Sean Heisey, York Daily Record

Here are some of those fighting to get in at the ground floor of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana industry.

Former Baltimore Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe, right, looks at cannabis oil at an unspecified laboratory.(Photo: Submitted)

What do two retired NFL players and a former lieutenant governor have in common? They all hope to transform marijuana into medicine in Central Pennsylvania.

With medical cannabis now legal in PA, there’s big money at stake for the companies that win one of the 39 permits to grow or sell cannabis. But with more than 500 applicants, there’s a lot of competition.

Competitors range from local startups Viridis Medicine and Five Leaf Remedies to well-established companies that already grow marijuana in states such as New Hampshire and New York.

More: Medical marijuana: Who gets the money?

Here are some of those who hope to get involved:

NFL to CEO 

Eugene Monroe (Photo: Mitch Stringer, USA TODAY Sports)

Eugene Monroe played in the NFL from 2009 through 2016 with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Baltimore Ravens. Like many football players, the left tackle had his share of injuries — and pain — and has become an outspoken advocate for the NFL to legalize medical marijuana as an alternative to opiates.

Now Monroe plans to head up Green Thumb Industries Pennsylvania, which has applied for a permit to grow marijuana in the area.

More: Eugene Monroe remains hopeful NFL will change rules over use of medical marijuana 

Monroe joined the Chicago-based company last November, the company’s website states. He is listed as co-CEO of the Pennsylvania program. Monroe could not be reached for comment.

Well-connected consultants 

Monroe isn’t the only pro

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