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The NFL Is Updating Its Marijuana Policy

NFL Marijuana Policy | Source: Sports Illustrated

Following the collective bargaining agreement that has been approved by owners, the NFL is updating their marijuana policy in the National Football League and is no longer suspending players for testing positive for marijuana.

For far too long the NFL and their commissioner Roger Goodell has been stuck in the reefer madness days. As cannabis becomes normalized, organizations have no choice but to shift their focus on significant matters, rather than prohibiting marijuana.

These updates would decrease the number of players subject to cannabis testing and reduce the window for testing from four months beginning April 20th (go figure) to August 9th, to only two weeks at the start of training camp. It would also increase the limit for THC metabolites to fail the test from 35 to 150 nanograms. From here, the policy must be approved by the NFL Players Association in order to officially take effect.

Assuming this goes through, the NFL would be the most recent major sports league in America to update their cannabis policy as more and more states around the country join the legalization wave. In December, Major League Baseball announced that they were removing marijuana from their list of banned substances for players. Although league wide annual testing for cannabis ended in 2006, players in the minor leagues were still being tested for THC and subject to punishment if they failed.

Following the news of the MLB’s updated policy two of the biggest names in football, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady said in interviews that the NFL would likely soon have to modernize its approach to cannabis. Well, soon is now.

Several players in the NFL have had ties to the cannabis plant over the years.

Two time super bowl champion Chris Long has spoken out following his retirement about his consistent cannabis use throughout his career. During a May 2019 interview on the Dan Patrick Show, Chris Long explained how he regularly used cannabis without ever testing positive during that 4 month stretch. He has even gone on to call the current NFL marijuana policy “dumb” when speaking to Sports Illustrated.

There are also plenty of ex-NFL players that are now involved with cannabis to some extent. Ricky Williams, Terrel Davis, and even 49ers legend Joe Montana all have links with cannabis firms. Former Saints offensive lineman Kyle Turley has even spoke out saying that cannabis saved his life. Calvin Johnson and Rob Gronkowski were two of the most dominant players at their positions, and they both decided to cut their careers short in an effort to preserve their bodies at the ages of 30 and 29. Both are also now involved with the medical cannabis business.

Gronk has even said that “CBD helped relieve the pain suffered from a career of hurt.” Andrew Luck is another player who hung up the cleats early due to a multitude of injuries at the age of 29, his retirement shocked the football world when it was first announced. With injuries rising at alarming rates, the league has to stop force feeding opiates down these players throats, getting them addicted to pain killers, and open their minds to the fact that cannabis is the better alternative if the NFL is serious about protecting players and creating a safer league.

The updated NFL cannabis policy is definitely another step in the right direction.

Especially considering the type of social power that huge leagues like the MLB and NFL have in the United States. We are slowly breaking down all of the walls that prohibition has wrongfully established, and as more states continue to legalize, and more big time national leagues loosen up their policies, we are that much closer to national legalization.

Beyond the NFL, there is a long list of cannabis users and/or cannapreneurs in the sports world. This just goes to show that if some of the best athletes of all time like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Phelps, and Mike Tyson medicate with cannabis, maybe just maybe, consuming a little cannabis won’t automatically turn you into some worthless lazy couch potato. Maybe this plant is not the devils lettuce that will drive you insane like history has made cannabis out to be.