NFL Changes Policy on Cannabis Usage

NFL Changes Policy on Cannabis Usage

Posted by Toker Grace on Mar 16, 2020 12:31:34 PM

Despite the slowdown that COVID-19 has caused for professional sports, drastic changes are still being made behind the scenes. More specifically, The National Football League just renewed its Collective Bargaining Agreement, or CBA amongst themselves and the NFLPA. The new CBA brings along some interesting changes. Some of these changes include the addition of a regular season as well as a playoff season game, an increase in the minimal salary provided by the NFL of nearly 25%, and an  increased focus on concussion protocol. However, the most drastic change is how the NFL will interact with psychoactive cannabis, CBD, and those who may or may not test positive for the aforementioned substances.

The NFL’s New CBA and THC

NFLPlayers such as Josh Gordon, who set the record for the most violations of the NFL’s (now outdated) Wellness Policy due to cannabis, can now rejoice as the league becomes more receptive to cannabis. In the terms of the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is updated approximately every 10 seasons, the threshold for players caught to have THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis was approximately 35 nanograms. This is an insanely low amount. Having 35 nanograms of THC in your system is equivalent to the consumption of one 0.5 gram joint with 18 hours of testing. This means that a player could have indulged in one blunt of cannabis during an off day on to test positive and be subsequently suspended thereafter. By increasing the threshold by approximately 4.3 times, less players will not be violated allowing them to continue to be productive on the field. It is also worth noting that these new terms take into account the multitude of teams that operate in a market where cannabis is decriminalized and legal. One team, the former Oakland Raiders, will be moving to Las Vegas some time in 2020. Nevada became one of the first states to prohibit employers (such as the NFL) from testing prospective players for cannabis.

NFL Opens its Doors to CBD Usage

The new CBA also allows the use of CBD by its players as a form of alternative medicine. Former players like Marcellus Wiley and ‘Booger’ McFarland have openly discussed the ‘pill mill’ nature of the NFL. Team Physicians too often overprescribe players with intense opioids such as Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Percocet. Physicians were even prescribing these strong drugs for minor issues such as ankle sprains and headaches. With the new CBA going into effect, players will have the option to turn to CBD, the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis to treat their ailments most likely sustained on the job. It is also worth noting that even though CBD is legal in all states across the country, the NFL still had the cannabinoid on its list of prohibited substances. For context, the UFC prohibits Performance-Enhancing Drugs, or PEDs, but is a-ok with fighters who test positive for cocaine.

How Josh Gordon’s Legacy will be Influenced by the new CBA

As aforementioned, Josh Gordon is Wide Receiver for the NFL who is currently “suspended indefinitely” due to his countless number of failed drug tests thanks to THC. Since 2012, Gordon has been somewhat of a Cannabis Activist, remaining outspoken about his violations. Moreover, Gordon, who was the all-time leader in receiving yards in 2013, stated that he smoked cannabis before every game he ever played. Gordon also made it to the Pro Bowl and would become a Superbowl Champion 4 seasons later with the New England Patriots. Aside from Ricky Williams of the late 80s and early 90s, Gordon is the most productive (confirmed) cannabis consumer the league has ever seen. Josh Gordon is a Hall of Fame tier wide receiver who’s legacy has been tainted by the negative appeal the NFL has pushed towards cannabis as a whole. It is unclear if the NFL’s new CBA will allow Josh Gordon’s suspension to be lifted a la ex post facto. More importantly, let’s hope that this new CBA will bring Josh Gordon back into the Hall of Fame conversations when he chooses to retire.

Despite the slowdown that COVID-19 has caused for professional sports, drastic changes are still being made behind the scenes. More specifically, The National Football League just renewed its Collective Bargaining Agreement, or CBA amongst themselves and the NFLPA. The new CBA brings along some interesting changes. Some of these changes include the addition of a regular season as well as playoff season game, an increase in the minimal salary provided by the NFL of nearly 25%, and an  increased focus on concussion protocol. However, the most drastic change is how the NFL will interact with psychoactive cannabis, CBD, and those who may or may not test positive for the aforementioned substances.

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