Major League Baseball is considering removing cannabis from the banned substance list for minor league players while implementing an opioid testing program in both the minor and major leagues, according to a CBS Sports report. The proposal was first reported by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
According to the report, players on the 40-man roster are not tested for cannabis but non-40-man roster minor league players are, and 13 players were suspended last season for cannabis use. Rosenthal says major league players “have not been subject to testing for marijuana.”
The opioid testing proposal comes more than five months after the death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs who had two different types of opioids in his system at the time of his death. Players who fail an opioid test would be referred to treatment rather than suspended.
Under the current rules, non-40-man roster minor leaguers are suspended 25 games for their first positive test for a “drug of abuse” – which includes cannabis – 50 games for a second positive test, 100 games for a third positive test. A fourth positive test bans a player for life. To date, no minor leaguer has been banned for life for cannabis use, although former Brewers relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress was suspended three times for cannabis use. Jeffress was released by the Brewers on September 3 after an injury-shortened campaign.
Alongside cannabis, the MLB’s list of “drugs of abuse” are synthetic cannabinoids, cocaine, LSD, opiates, MDA, MDMA and ecstasy, “bath salts,” GHB, and PCP.
The league and players association have yet to finalize the new drug testing agreement.