As the United States continues to find itself more liberal on the approach of recreational marijuana use, the NFL seems to be stuck in the dark ages. We’ve now seen multiple players suspended for substantial time after testing positive for marijuana.
The most egregious example of this is Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who is currently serving an indefinite ban and has not suited up in an NFL game since December of 2014.
Though, it now appears that the NFL Players Association is looking into softening the league’s policy against marijuana. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith just recently told the Washington Post that the union is seeking a “less punitive” substance abuse policy relating to medical marijuana.
“We will sit down and we will present a proposal to our board. If our board approves the proposal, we’ll sit down with the league and we will make the proposal to them,” Smith said. “If we think that this is medically, scientifically and therapeutically the right position, then we tell the league, Therapeutically, medically and scientifically, this is the right position.”
This shouldn’t really come as too much of a surprise. Though, one has to wonder if the NFL and players union should specifically focus on a medical marijuana policy before delving into recreational use. That’s been the biggest issue as it relates to the league’s handling of this situation over the years.
We’ve seen multiple current and former players, the retired Eugene Monroe included, speak up about the advantage of marijuana as an alternative to painkillers (more on that here).
As it relates to marijuana and the recreational side, it was just late last year when reports surfaced that multiple NFL owners and executives are looking to change the league’s policy.
With marijuana itself now legalized for recreational use in four states where NFL teams are housed, there’s some concern over league policy and state laws. Surely the NFL has the right to outlaw substances free of state law itself, but it makes the situation more convoluted.
It remains to be seen if the union’s proposal makes it out of its board and to the league, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.