The NFL is reportedly willing to make “major concessions” regarding its substance abuse policy in the next collective bargaining session with players, according to an NBC Sports report.
NBC’s Pro Football Talk cited a “league source” for the development, which suggested that the complete removal of all cannabis use restrictions could be possible. This would raise many questions and potential issues, however, as the NFL is a national organization and cannabis remains a federally prohibited, Schedule I substance.
Though the news is an exciting step forward for NFL players and fans, immediate progress is unlikely as the next step toward cannabis policy reform would be negotiations with the NFL Players Association, which is unlikely to happen until the next collective bargaining session in 2020.
The NFL, while still banning the substance, has already liberalized the enforcement of its substance abuse rules as they relate to cannabis. Players like Josh Gordon, Martavis Bryant, and Randy Gregory have received more lenient punishments for cannabis-related violations, for example.
Some analysts suggested that lifting the ban on cannabis use for NFL athletes would cause free agent players to flock to teams in states with legalized cannabis.