Suspended NFL Players May Return After Cannabis Policy Changes

With the NFL’s cannabis policy for players now significantly relaxed, Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory — who was suspended indefinitely after repeatedly failing tests for cannabis use — has filed for reinstatement in the league.

Full story after the jump.

Suspended Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory has filed for reinstatement to the National Football League after being suspended indefinitely last year by the league after recurring violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy that date to 2015, ESPN reports.

The appeal is the first to be made public following changes by the NFL earlier this month to their substance abuse policy, which no longer threatens suspension for failed drug tests for cannabis. Gregory was suspended four different times for failed or missed cannabis tests. Under the policy reforms, a player can still be suspended for missing tests or not following league rules for repeated test failures.

Gregory was drafted in 2015 and has only played in 28 games in his career due to the suspensions; in 2016 and 2017 he missed 30 of the total 32 games.

The Dallas Cowboys are owned by Jerry Jones, who advocated for the league-wide cannabis policy changes in the recent Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and the Players’ Association. Jones told CBS Sports last year that team owners were “excited about being in step with the social and legal scene as it goes forward” with regard to cannabis policies.

Nine of the league’s 32 teams play their home games in states that have legalized cannabis for adult use.

Under the new rules, if a player tests positive for cannabis during the two-week training camp their test is reviewed by a board of medical professionals appointed by the NFLPA and the league who determine whether the player needs treatment for drug abuse. That two-week window for cannabis testing was shortened from four months, which means that less players will be tested for cannabis. Players will no longer be suspended for positive tests and the threshold for failing a test is now 150 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood, up from 35 nanograms.

Josh Gordon, a wide receiver who was indefinitely suspended last season for NFL substance abuse policy violations related to cannabis dating back to 2013, has indicated he plans to return in the 2020 season but according to CBS Sports will have to abide by the league’s old rules in order to return.

The NFL has not made any statements regarding the reinstatement of Gregory but Commissioner Roger Goodell told ESPN that Gordon would have to prove he is making steady progress away from the field before he would consider reinstating him from his sixth suspension.

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