Sports | April 13, 2020 10:48 am

NFL’s Draconian Marijuana Policy Goes Up in Smoke in New Labor Deal

The 10-year labor agreement between the NFL and players union was ratified on March 15

Roger Goodell Closes All NFL Team Facilities
A view of the NFL logo before the 2020 AFC Championship game.
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty

In the 10-year labor agreement between the NFL and its players union that was ratified on March 15, the league agreed to get with the times and loosen its rules on the use of marijuana.

In addition to receiving an increased amount of league revenue, the NFLPA also collectively bargained that players who test positive for marijuana will no longer be suspended.

Instead of hitting them with suspensions, the NFL will hit players who test positive in the wallet and fine them game checks depending on the number of positive tests. First-time positive offenders will be put into a league-mandated treatment program.

In a league where it has been estimated 50 percent of players use marijuana recreationally or as an opioid-free way to deal with pain, that’s no small thing.

Instead of being conducted from April to August, testing will be restricted to the first two weeks of training camp and the amount of THC found in a player’s system to result in a positive test has been raised fourfold.

The changes to the policy reflect shifts by states across the country with regard to marijuana. In 11 states, including seven with NFL franchises, the drug is legal for any use and many others have approved it for medicinal reasons.

“The league’s considerations included a number of issues, including its status legally, but most important was always the advice and recommendations of the medical and clinical professionals,” Brian McCarthy, a league spokesman, told The New York Times.

While not identical, the NFL’s new policy is similar to the approach other professional leagues like the MLB and the NBA have taken with marijuana.

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