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Report: Higher threshold for positive marijuana tests in new drug policy

Cleveland Browns v Minnesota Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 22: Josh Gordon #12 of the Cleveland Browns carries the football during the first quarter of the game on September 22, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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During a meeting with reporters in New York City last week, NFLPA President Eric Winston reiterated that the union will not sign off on HGH testing until the NFL agrees to neutral arbitration for some violations of the league’s drug policy.

The league has charged the union with dragging its feet on testing by bringing up other issues, but it may not just be HGH testing that’s being held up by the impasse. Dan Graziano of reports that changes to the way the league handles testing and discipline for marijuana.

Graziano reports that the new substance-abuse policy will “significantly increase” the threshold for a positive marijuana test, something that the World Anti-Doping Agency already has, while also lessening the penalties for positive tests. There’s no word on exactly how the discipline will change, but players in Stage Two of the program currently face a four-game suspension for a violation. Further violations carry longer suspensions like the one Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is facing although no change to the program at this point would change his plight.

The NFLPA wants two exceptions to Commissioner Roger Goodell’s role as the final arbiter on violations of the drug policy. The first is in cases of a non-analytical violation (i.e., a player is found to have violated the policy without failing a test) and the other is when the violation comes from a violation of the law.

If the two sides can bridge the gap and agree to implement the new policy, the changes should go into effect in short order.