Two NFL teams clash on the field during a pro football game.

Alan Kotok

NFL Players Association Pushing for Relaxed Cannabis Policies

The National Football League Players Association is seeking to amend the league’s drug policies as they pertain to cannabis use by players, according to a Washington Post report. DeMaurice Smith, the NFLPA executive director, said the proposal will be presented to the union’s board of player representatives and if it is approved by them it will be sent for league approval.

All forms of cannabis use are currently banned under the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement; however, in November, the Players Association announced they had convened a committee to that would look into using cannabis as a pain management option for players.

“I do think that issues of addressing it more in a treatment and less punitive measure is appropriate,” Smith said the report. “I think it’s important to look at whether there are addiction issues. And I think it’s important to not simply assume recreation is the reason it’s being used.”

During an interview yesterday with Colin Cowherd of Fox, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell indicated that there have been ongoing discussions about the league’s cannabis policies.

“We’ve had several conversations about this issue and several years ago we did take a less-punitive approach to marijuana,” he said. “That will be one of the subjects in the collective bargaining process, which we’d like to get into sooner rather than later.”

In 2014, the league raised the threshold of what amount of THC in a player’s blood would result in a positive test; from 15 nanograms per milliliter to 35 nanograms per milliliter. It is league policy that a player will be suspended for a full year following their sixth cannabis-related violation.

The NFLPA is hoping to make their pitch to the league in May.

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