NBA Changes Marijuana Policy
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association recently agreed upon a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that removed cannabis from its drug-testing program. This development has many wondering if the NFL is next in line to follow suit and modify its policy on marijuana use.
Currently, under the league’s substance abuse policy, NFL players are subject to fines and potential suspension if they test positive for marijuana or if they fail to comply with the league’s drug-testing protocols. Moreover, the NFL has maintained its stance on marijuana use despite a growing number of states legalizing it for recreational and medicinal purposes.
The NBA's decision could act as a catalyst for the NFL to make a similar move, especially because marijuana is no longer illegal in many of the states where teams operate. Furthermore, the medicinal use of cannabis has been widely accepted and many argue it’s safer than powerful narcotics that teams provide players for pain management. Additionally, some suggest that if the ban was removed, players would be more motivated to stay away from other substances such as alcohol to remain focused and professional on the field.
Despite this, it appears unlikely that the NFL will make any immediate changes in its policy regarding marijuana use. This is because the league regards such a ban as part of collective bargaining and thus, before changing its stance, it would want something in return from the NFL Players Association.
Nevertheless, as more and more states continue to legalize marijuana, it may become increasingly difficult for the NFL to justify its ban on weed. In such a case, it appears that the league would have no choice but to drop the prohibition entirely. Whether this happens or not remains to be seen; however, it will be interesting to monitor the league’s reaction as it currently finds itself in uncharted territory.
Overall, the NBA's policy regarding marijuana use has opened up a new conversation about cannabis and professional sports. While the NFL may not make any rash decisions for now, their stance could very well change if more states legalize marijuana in the future.