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Derrick Morgan joins Eugene Monroe’s marijuana cause


George Gojkovich

Tackle Eugene Monroe isn’t alone in his advocacy for the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in the NFL. Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan has joined Monroe.

In an interview with Katie Couric of Yahoo News, Morgan and Monroe explained their position regarding the value of marijuana for football players -- and regarding the NFL’s reluctance to consider it.

“I feel like the NFL has a responsibility to look into it, to delegate time and money to research this for its players,” Morgan said. “Given how much influence that the NFL has on society, I think it would help the greater good. There’s a lot of people suffering and a lot of people that can benefit from cannabis as a medical treatment.”

The league nevertheless has resisted the question of whether marijuana would benefit players, clinging to the reality that marijuana is banned under the substance abuse policy.

“I think for the NFL to say that cannabis does not benefit the long-term health of its players without actually having gone and done the research,” Morgan said. “I don’t think that’s an accurate statement.”

Still, the league seems to be willing to learn more about the issue, and maybe what they learn will result in a change in the NFL’s attitude toward marijuana.

The biggest impediment to change could be the concept of collective bargaining. The league will want a concession in return for modifying the longstanding marijuana ban. The NFL Players Association may take the position that it’s in the mutual interests of labor and management to make changes.

Hopefully, both sides will set the back-and-forth of labor negotiations aside and do the right thing for all players, if the right thing is allowing them to use marijuana as a way to treat pain and other football-related afflictions.

The good news is that, under the current policy, most players can (and many players do) use marijuana. Every player not already in the program takes one substance abuse test per year, at some point from April to August. This means that players not in the program can use marijuana throughout most of training camp, the preseason, the regular season, and the postseason.

Still, players shouldn’t have to shut it down for a month (or more) in the offseason, and players in the substance abuse program shouldn’t have to avoid it completely until they exit from the program. The sooner the NFL gets to that point, the better off the NFL’s players (and in turn the NFL) will be.