(TMU) — In a sign of the changing times, the National Football League (NFL) and NFL Players Association could soon strike a new agreement that would effectively end the league’s long-standing harsh stance against cannabis.
Under a new collective bargaining agreement being negotiated between the players and the league that would kick in at the end of next season, penalties for cannabis use would be heavily curbed. The annual window for testing players for cannabis and other drugs would likewise be dramatically shortened from four months to two weeks while fewer players would be tested for the substance, reports Marijuana Moment.
Under the proposed arrangement, a suspension would no longer be an option for players testing positive for cannabis use. NBC Sports’ ProFootballTalk reported:
“[The agreement] would include dramatically reduced penalties, with suspensions happening only in the event of extreme and repeated disregard of the policy or significant violations of applicable law regarding the possession and use of marijuana.”
The collective bargaining agreement, which was tentatively approved by owners on Thursday, also includes provisions that boost minimum salaries while expanding benefits for active and retired players.
The NFL is giving up suspensions for players who test positive for THC, which is awesome news.
Football community has to recognize, like the MMA, community that cannabis is what people should use for pain.
An entire cultural shift away from pills needs to happen.
— Zack Moore (@ZackMooreNFL) February 21, 2020
News of the proposed agreement comes shortly after Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones has dropped hints that the NFL would be subjecting its drug policy to an “adjustment,” especially in regards to marijuana use.
Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones has hinted that there will likely be an “adjustment” in the way the league handles its drug policy with respect to marijuana use. Amid the negotiations for a new agreement, Jones conceded that it was time for professional football to catch up with the rest of the world in respect to the plant.
Speaking to 105.3 The Fan, Jones said:
“I think the world is sensitive to the issue regarding marijuana … It’s also an issue contemporarily we’re excited about being in step with the social and legal scene as it goes forward.
And, so, we not only have the interest of competitiveness in mind when it comes to any type of substance, we have the issue of the law and we have the issue of the society focus on it.
All of that does receive attention when you’re discussing this area with players.”
Love the new proposed marijuana policy in the NFL.
But, I never trusted teammates who were blazed out before games. Gotta find a way to police it before games. Outside of those few hours, smoke away.
— Ben Leber (@nacholeber) February 21, 2020
Talk of a relaxation of anti-cannabis restrictions in the league also comes after Major League Baseball unveiled its own new drug-testing policies and new penalties related to the drug. As TMU reported in December, the league said that cannabis would be removed from the MLB list of banned substances and would instead be classified as a recreational substance alongside alcohol. The policy will also apply to minor league teams that previously screened players for cannabis to determine their eligibility.
At the time, MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark noted that the changes were a result “of a larger conversation that was reflective of the attitudes changing in many parts of the country.”
According to recent data from the Pew Research Center, two-thirds of the public in the U.S. favors the legalization of cannabis—a sure sign of the anti-prohibitionist mood of most Americans, especially millennials. For many, the sentiment is less about politics or partying, and more a basic matter of wanting to put an end to the failed “War on Drugs” and its disproportionate and unjust impact on poor communities and people of color.