It seems as if a new state is legalizing everyday. A plant that was almost 100% illegal a decade ago, is turning into one of the biggest industries in the United States. However, the NFL seems to be standing still. A strict policy blocks players from consuming THC without fear of increased testing, suspension, and in extreme cases, removal from the league itself.
Similarly, CBD, another derivative of hemp, is still a gray-area in the NFL. CBD is currently legal across the United States and is widely used for physical ailments. Unlike THC, which gives consumers the light floaty feeling, CBD deals with the body, relieving pain without the high.
Complaints about theses policies have grown louder and louder. Players have been speaking out in recent years, namely former Raven & Jaguar player, Eugene Moore. Moore was the first active player to openly promote marijuana for its effectiveness in decreasing brain inflammation.
This brain inflammation can lead to another hot button issue for the NFL, CTE. From minor cases of headaches and memory loss to more serious fatal incidents, CTE has plagued NFL headlines for a number of years. If cannabis can help to keep guys on the field and save the health of their players, why wouldn’t the NFL let it in?
Fortunately, the NFL sees these benefits and has plans to change their policy...
...unfortunately, there’s more on the table than just cannabis. The NFL has plans to improve their policy, but with a new collective bargaining agreement coming in 2022, medical marijuana and CBD are seen as a pretty nice bargaining chip. The league has not budged since the last CBA in 2011, and there likely won’t be any movement until the new CBA.
The NFL and its owners have been known to negotiate like it’s a hobby. While the NFL Players Association would like to get these changes enacted now due to health and safety concerns, the NFL sees no reason to. It’s a shame that the addition or deletion of a few rules can stand in the way of progress.