Major League Baseball (MLB) further clarified the league’s cannabis policies this week, confirming players’ right to use cannabis products during off-hours but announcing that, for now, players are not allowed to partner with or accept sponsorships from cannabis companies, ESPN reports.
The policy shift to allow cannabis use was announced in December but officials clarified in a memo last week that cannabis sponsorships, for now, are still off-limits. MLB said it plans to address the issue in the future but, “until such guidance is issued, any such investments or commercial arrangements are still considered to be prohibited in accordance with current practices.”
The league also clarified that players can still face repercussions for cannabis use: Players and team personnel who “appear under the influence of marijuana or any other cannabinoid during any of the Club’s games, practices, workouts, meetings or otherwise during the course and within the scope of their employment” will undergo a “mandatory evaluation” for a potential treatment program, according to the memo.
The league also clarified that players and employees can still face repercussions for cannabis use:
“If players or Club personnel appear under the influence of marijuana or any other cannabinoid during any of the Club’s game’s practices, workouts, meetings or otherwise during the course and within the scope of their employment, they will be referred to a mandatory evaluation under the applicable cannabinoid and alcohol treatment program.” — MLB memo, via Marijuana Moment
Previously, pro baseball players who tested positive for cannabis were subject to mandatory treatment and persistent offenders were charged up to $35,000 in fines per offense.
According to the report, twelve MLB teams — the A’s, Angels, Blue Jays, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners, Padres, Red Sox, Rockies, Tigers, and White Sox — are based in cities where adult-use cannabis has been legalized. Medical cannabis, meanwhile, is available in every MLB location except for Georgia, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Major League Baseball is ahead of the National Football League in terms of updating its cannabis policies — the NFL is currently bargaining over a relaxed cannabis policy with the NFL Players’ Association.