NBA ditches marijuana testing under new CBA; when will NFL follow suit?
Three years ago, the NFL dramatically reduced the potential penalties for marijuana use -- but the league didn’t wipe out marijuana testing entirely.
Maybe that day is coming.
Via Shams Charania of TheAthletic.com, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement finalized Friday between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association ditched marijuana from the drug-testing program, entirely.
The NFL has held firm on its no-weed mandate for one specific reason. The NFL regards the marijuana ban as part of collective bargaining. Which means that, before they do the right thing and get rid of it, they want something in return from the NFL Players Association.
When states in which the NFL does business started to legalize marijuana for recreational use, the league hid behind the fact that it remains a controlled substance under federal law. As more and more states legalize marijuana, that’s becoming a more difficult hook on which to hang the league’s hat that it got with a free bowl of soup.
The medicinal value is undisputed. Many believe it’s safer than the powerful narcotics teams give players for pain. And as to any concern that players will be continuously baked when awake, the NFL is enough of a meritocracy to ensure that those who hope to remain on the field won’t be stumbling around the practice food giggling or chomping so loudly on Doritos during team meetings that they can’t hear what’s being said.
And to those who believe the NFL has already abandoned marijuana testing, that’s just not true. Players are still subject to fines. And if they end up in the treatment program, they can be suspended for certain forms of failure to comply.
The better move would be to just dump the prohibition entirely.