WVPA Sharing

Trulieve welcomes reality-star Ethan Zohn to Morgantown-Granville cannabis dispensary

By Matt Young, WV Press News Sharing

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Ahead of its planned public opening, Trulieve – one of the nation’s largest distributors of medical cannabis – recently held an exclusive “first look” at their Morgantown-Granville Dispensary.

The dispensary, which opened today and will have a grand opening on July 9, will serve as Trulieve’s flagship West Virginia location. Ethan Zohn, National Spokesperson for the company’s “Momenta” brand, and winner of the reality-television program “Survivor: Africa,” served as host for the event.

“I got hooked up with Trulieve about a year-and-a-half ago,” Zohn told media members present at Thursday’s event. “And when they said they were coming out with their first in-house wellness brand, that was interesting to me.” 

In 2009, Zohn was diagnosed with a rare form of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which is, as he explains it, “the kind of cancer that young people get.” Zohn was just 36 at the time of his initial diagnosis. While his cancer returned several years later, Zohn has been in remission since 2012. 

After learning of Trulieve’s plans to release the Momenta wellness brand, Zohn – who was scheduled to participate in April’s running of the Boston Marathon –  saw it as a unique opportunity to raise awareness as to the health benefits associated with cannabis. As someone who knows first hand the physical and mental relief cannabis can provide to those suffering from legitimate medical conditions, Zohn presented Trulieve with a most intriguing thought. 

“What if I ran the Boston Marathon while medicating with Momenta?” Zohn suggested. 

As explained on Trulieve’s website, “Momenta, currently available in Florida, Massachusetts and West Virginia, empowers patients to enhance their everyday wellness routines through cannabis by naturally enhancing the connection to the body, mind and spirit.”

Zohn also ran the marathon in support of “AKTIV Against Cancer,” an organization dedicated to the inclusion of physical activity in standard cancer treatment. Although April’s appearance marked Zohn’s first time completing the marathon, it was not his first attempt. In 2013, Zohn was forced to exit the race at the 24-mile mark due to the terrorist bombings. 

In addition to his winning-turn in 2001’s Survivor: Africa, as well as his less successful returns to the series in 2004’s Survivor: All Stars, and 2019’s Survivor: Winners at War, Zohn was a standout player in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) where he tended goal for the Hawaii Tsunami and Cape Cod Crusaders, respectively. 

During his cancer treatments, and prior to the general acceptance of medical cannabis as part of treatment plans, Zohn struggled with the side-effects brought about by the daily regimen of synthetic medications. Cannabis offered relief from those side-effects, but was not readily – or legally – available at that time. 

“I was out on the streets of New York, you know – bald from chemotherapy,” Zohn said. “And I had to go to a drug dealer – the kind that sells all the drugs. I just wanted medicine that would help me with cancer.” 

While tragic, Zohn’s story is not uncommon. This is why, according to Trulieve West Virginia Area Manager Heather Peairs, cannabis education is so important. 

“We are here to educate,” Peairs said, during an interview on May 2. “We are all about putting the patient first. We get involved in the community – we get out there to provide that education to anyone wishing to listen or ask questions. We understand that there are people who may not be comfortable with what we do and what we provide. But the one thing I really want to stress is that we are here to educate.”

Coming just a month after successful openings in Parkersburg and South Charleston, Trulieve’s Morgantown-Granville flagship marks their fifth retail dispensary in West Virginia. Trulieve holds a total of 10 dispensary permits across the Mountain State. In addition to the dispensaries currently operating, Trulieve has plans to open locations in Belle, Huntington, Hurricane and Milton. 

Morgantown-Granville General Manager Jonathan Franklin, Executive Director of Retail Teresa Kish, West Virginia Area Manager Heather Peairs, gather at the new location.
Bari Magnetta, new story retail planner; Rachel Myslinksi, regional store manager; Kerri Whitfield, Senior Brand Manager for Muse; and Tyler Soreng, Brand manager for Cultivar; were all on hand for the first look at the new location.

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