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New marijuana laws don’t affect NFL drug policy

LenDale+White+Tennessee+Titans+v+Houston+Texans+2E4Catu6Zy4l Getty Images

Voters in Colorado and Washington approved ballot measures legalizing the use of marijuana by adults on Tuesday, but NFL players in the two states aren’t able to celebrate the news by sparking up a joint without avoiding league discipline.

The drug remains illegal under the league’s substance abuse policy whether a player is on the Broncos, Seahawks or any of the other 30 NFL teams. That means players would still be subject to fines or suspensions for failing drug tests because they have marijuana in their system.

The NFL’s policy is collectively bargained and will continue to apply in the same manner it has for decades,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said, via USA Today. “Marijuana remains prohibited under the NFL substance abuse program. The Colorado and Washington laws will have no impact on the operation of the policy.”

The policy doesn’t cover former NFL players, obviously, and one of them weighed in on the big news from Colorado via Twitter. LenDale White, who played running back for the Titans, Seahawks and Broncos and served a suspension for violating the substance abuse policy by smoking pot during his playing days, seems pleased by the development.

There wasn’t much chance of a White comeback before the election, but whatever chances remained may have gone up in a haze of smoke on Tuesday night.

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38 Responses to “New marijuana laws don’t affect NFL drug policy”
  1. gochargersgo says: Nov 7, 2012 1:03 PM

    THEREAL_LENDALE…..

    Im dying of laughter. As if anyone would care to impersonate Lendale White on twitter.

  2. samanthasteeleruinedmyqb says: Nov 7, 2012 1:05 PM

    It’s also still against federal law, so don’t break out the Cheetos yet!

  3. 12strikes says: Nov 7, 2012 1:05 PM

    This is a lawsuit waiting to happen. You know some player is going to get nailed with weed in his system (and was in CO or Seattle) and is going to say it was second hand smoke from being out in one of those cities.

  4. stevemo says: Nov 7, 2012 1:05 PM

    It’s sad that it took this long for states to start doing this.

  5. joetoronto says: Nov 7, 2012 1:06 PM

    Next up, taxing it.

    It’s all about the money, make no mistake about it.

  6. doe22us says: Nov 7, 2012 1:11 PM

    Oh Lendale Lmao, we definitely know how he voted on that ballot. I think he is from Colorado, i may be wrong.

  7. jetfanfolife says: Nov 7, 2012 1:12 PM

    Alcohol is a drug.
    Should the NFL suspend players for drinking (even if they don’t drive)?

  8. keeppounding says: Nov 7, 2012 1:13 PM

    I get that. You can buy stuff from GNC that will fail you for PED’s. However, not if but when the prohibition officially ends on a federal level can the league still punish them? Players dip and drink would it be any different?

  9. trollhammer20 says: Nov 7, 2012 1:13 PM

    As a legalization advocate, I never had any illusions that some workers, like truck drivers, would be able to use without it possibly affecting their work status.

    I think the goal for the “movement”, so to speak, is to force a real discussion/debate at the federal level about reworking the drug schedules and ending the Federal prohibition. The passage of the ballot measures last night is an enormous step in this direction.

    The federal government is going to have to act on this. You can’t have people in two states flaunting their breaking of the law. Plus, these states will see an increase in criminal activity in the form of people coming in from out of state to get marijuana and transport it over state lines, either for personal use or to sell in a non-legal state for a profit.

    At some point, the government must either realize that prohibition of marijuana has been a failure, or they’ll have to crack down on the entire medical, and now legal, marijuana industry. I don’t think they have the resources, or for that matter, the political will, to do the latter. The people are moving towards freedom, not away from it, and putting that cat back in the bag is going to be a monumental task if they choose to pursue it.

  10. natelan69 says: Nov 7, 2012 1:15 PM

    Somebody tell Peyton he can stop faking that neck injury… No more prescription needed in Colorado.

  11. dukemarc says: Nov 7, 2012 1:17 PM

    Good luck enforcing it NFL, considering the Federal Government won’t enforce it’s laws in those states.

  12. tdotsteel says: Nov 7, 2012 1:18 PM

    Dude, that is awesome! You mean I can toke a spliff at halftime and then rip off an 80 yd run off tackle. If Goodell suspends me I can take it to the Supreme Court as it alienates the state constitution.

    Another legal firestorm the league will have on its hands. The new destination for free agents will be Seattle and Denver.

  13. daodesam says: Nov 7, 2012 1:26 PM

    The NFL is going to have to look at this issue sooner or later. If its not performance enhancing and not illegal in some states, what is the justification? There is some research out there that suggests the cannabinoids like thc can actually help the brain heal after trauma. Of course, these studies are going in in other countries, since you can only study marijuana for its harmful effects in the US.

  14. billhicks666 says: Nov 7, 2012 1:29 PM

    Peyton Manning bought about 20 Papa John’s franchises in Colorado fairly recently. Did somebody tip him off on which way the wind was blowing on this particular issue?

  15. sourdoughsam says: Nov 7, 2012 1:31 PM

    trollhammer20:

    Not only does the Federal Gov’t have the resources, but more importantly: They don’t have the CONSTITUTIONAL authority! There’s this little thing called the 10th amendment that the Feds like to ignore.

  16. sourdoughsam says: Nov 7, 2012 1:32 PM

    ^ Excuse me, *lack* the resources.

  17. gallaghedj311 says: Nov 7, 2012 1:34 PM

    Actually you will see a decrease in criminal activity, as did every European country that has legalized/decriminalized it. The concept works as such that providing a safe environment to procure such marijuana relives one of having to take risky measures to procure it on the street. Perhaps the neighboring states would see an increase in criminal activity but you will certainly see a decrease in criminal activity within Washington and Colorado themselves.

  18. db105 says: Nov 7, 2012 1:36 PM

    Based on some of the comments it looks like some here don’t have jobs. An employer like the NFL can hold an employee to higher standards. For instance it’s not against the law to be late for work but an employer can discipline an employee for being late.

  19. usmutts says: Nov 7, 2012 1:39 PM

    Generally, a provision in a contract which violates public law is invalid. Not being a labor lawyer, I’m just wondering if a provision in a CBA, which I think is a contract, which allows one party to punish another for conduct which is protected by the Constitution is a valid provision.

    I would be interested in reading comments on this issue. How about it, Florio?

  20. daysend564 says: Nov 7, 2012 1:40 PM

    In other news, the Detroit Lions have officially requested to move to either Spokane, WA or Grand Junction, CO.

  21. thegreatgabbert says: Nov 7, 2012 1:50 PM

    Denver will now be known as the Mild High City.

  22. theralph2012 says: Nov 7, 2012 1:51 PM

    I would pay money to hear Marshawn Lynch’s opinion on the passing of the bill.

  23. Ryan says: Nov 7, 2012 2:00 PM

    Ricky Williams hasn’t weighed in on this? No doubt he is busy looking at real estate in Colorado.

  24. keeppounding says: Nov 7, 2012 2:01 PM

    Government agencies that receive funding for drug enforcement are never going to come out and say anything that could hurt their funding. That’s why the DEA’s stance on keeping weed illegal has stayed strong even when they are 1. Losing the war, and 2. Clearly can see most people that smoke pot aren’t criminals. So listening to an agency that’s funding comes from keeping it illegal is probably not the best place to start. Unrelated, but true. It’s time we stopped persecuting people for it.

  25. contraisloosebuthole says: Nov 7, 2012 2:09 PM

    Funny! When will the Feds give up on this drug? Almost everyone I know rocks the ganj. I would if i did not get tested at work. The business says when the federal government okays it they will as well. I was under the impression that once legal federally that you could only fire an abuser that was letting it affect his job (except stupid right to work states).

  26. tdk24 says: Nov 7, 2012 2:22 PM

    Oh, and Golden Tate wants more donuts now.

  27. schmitty2 says: Nov 7, 2012 2:40 PM

    The Seahawks might want to start testing Leroy Hill DAILY

  28. jaymc1988 says: Nov 7, 2012 2:43 PM

    took to long. in my opinion weed is worse than drinking alcohol..whens the last time you went to bars and seen two people fist fighting bec they were to high or whens the last time you seen someone get killed for smoking and driving lol. mary jane isnt even a drug if it grows from the ground as a plant its a plant not drug!

    and LOL at whoever said mild high stadium.

  29. goldrush36 says: Nov 7, 2012 2:59 PM

    dukemarc says: Nov 7, 2012 1:17 PM

    Good luck enforcing it NFL, considering the Federal Government won’t enforce it’s laws in those states.
    _____________________________________
    As a federal officer I can enlighten you… Absolutely yes they will. just like California and the precious 215 card if you are caught up with the wrong agents you’re taking a ride plain and simple because it is a meaningless piece of paper at the federal level. Personally I am against the laws but until Congress or the SCOTUS does something about it on a federal level it’s my job to uphold it. Personal use I will usually turn a cheek. Distribution not so much. I don’t see this as a law that stands much longer but don’t be so ignorant to think people are just gonna have free reign in those states

  30. newtons2ndlaw says: Nov 7, 2012 3:02 PM

    1. Peyton Manning signs with the Denver Bronco’s.

    2. PM buys 21 Papa John’s pizza franchises in Denver.

    3. PM continues commercial campaign with PJ’s.

    4. Colorado legalizes marijuana.

    Coincidence?

  31. dutchman1350 says: Nov 7, 2012 3:23 PM

    So does the StarCaps case from the Vikings a few years ago take precedence? They were legal in Minn, and NFL suspended players, and the courts over ruled the suspensions.

  32. keeppounding says: Nov 7, 2012 3:25 PM

    It’s obvious Peyton Manning does not smoke pot. Way too focused to be a stoner.

    Goldrush36:

    Obviously you know what your talking about. I read that the end of alcohol prohibition started at the state level just as last nights election ended Colorado’s state law. What’s your opinion on the crime rate after this? And do you think eventually the federal law will change?

  33. dukemarc says: Nov 7, 2012 3:32 PM

    goldrush36 says:
    Nov 7, 2012 2:59 PM
    dukemarc says: Nov 7, 2012 1:17 PM

    Good luck enforcing it NFL, considering the Federal Government won’t enforce it’s laws in those states.
    _____________________________________
    As a federal officer I can enlighten you… Absolutely yes they will. just like California and the precious 215 card if you are caught up with the wrong agents you’re taking a ride plain and simple because it is a meaningless piece of paper at the federal level. Personally I am against the laws but until Congress or the SCOTUS does something about it on a federal level it’s my job to uphold it. Personal use I will usually turn a cheek. Distribution not so much. I don’t see this as a law that stands much longer but don’t be so ignorant to think people are just gonna have free reign in those states
    ———————————

    Based on the fact that the Feds are already not enforcing it with the current hop houses with medical “licenses” to sell weed in Colorado – businesses that are blatantly disregarding the proper practices – I doubt it.

  34. halfcentaur says: Nov 7, 2012 3:38 PM

    I don’t understand disciplining players for smoking weed. If they aren’t penalized for drinking and going clubbing and getting hammered, then why is weed a big deal? Especially when it’s on it’s way to decriminalization/legalization, and has already been accomplished in some states? It is not a performance enhancer in any way whatsoever, so i don’t understand how a player is allowed to get smashed at a club but smoking a little joint will get him suspended. It’s bogus.

  35. haliganhooligan says: Nov 7, 2012 4:42 PM

    well hes wrong, Colorado isnt the first state to legalize it. weed has been legal in Alaska for years.

  36. goldrush36 says: Nov 7, 2012 4:56 PM

    dukemarc says: Nov 7, 2012 3:32 PM

    goldrush36 says:
    Nov 7, 2012 2:59 PM
    dukemarc says: Nov 7, 2012 1:17 PM

    Good luck enforcing it NFL, considering the Federal Government won’t enforce it’s laws in those states.
    _____________________________________
    As a federal officer I can enlighten you… Absolutely yes they will. just like California and the precious 215 card if you are caught up with the wrong agents you’re taking a ride plain and simple because it is a meaningless piece of paper at the federal level. Personally I am against the laws but until Congress or the SCOTUS does something about it on a federal level it’s my job to uphold it. Personal use I will usually turn a cheek. Distribution not so much. I don’t see this as a law that stands much longer but don’t be so ignorant to think people are just gonna have free reign in those states
    ———————————

    Based on the fact that the Feds are already not enforcing it with the current hop houses with medical “licenses” to sell weed in Colorado – businesses that are blatantly disregarding the proper practices – I doubt it.
    ___________________________________’
    Based on fact? what fact would that be? Here’s a fact for you… the doors have been slammed shut on over 200 “medical” dispensaries in California.. Call me crazy but that isn’t what I’d call taking no action. I am stationed in Southern California, so I can’t speak for those field offices, but simple fact is 70% of emphasis is at the point of entry. Mainly Southern CA, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. Another 20% or so in Florida and the gulf coast and the other 10 or so percent is across the nation. Just because no significant action has been taken YET doesn’t mean it won’t and believing otherwise is ignorant. The government wants to control the money… plain and simple.

  37. goldrush36 says: Nov 7, 2012 5:12 PM

    keeppounding says: Nov 7, 2012 3:25 PM

    It’s obvious Peyton Manning does not smoke pot. Way too focused to be a stoner.

    Goldrush36:

    Obviously you know what your talking about. I read that the end of alcohol prohibition started at the state level just as last nights election ended Colorado’s state law. What’s your opinion on the crime rate after this? And do you think eventually the federal law will change?
    _______________________________________
    Well obviously local misdemeanor/felony charges will go down at a state level but an increase will happen at the federal level. Overall it will be a total decrease, but depending on the municipality the federal charge can become a lot more severe. I can say that without a distribution charge, fed prosecutors will likely not bother. There would have to be other aggravated circumstances there. So for the individual it will usually be a better situation for sure. For those dispensaries much much worse. As I said I don’t see these laws standing any more than another 10 years if that but for now it is what it is. You are correct in that these things slowly unfold through the states and then they work through the supreme court etc… Not just alcohol but as of late it has worked in the reverse with Citizens challenging state firearms laws. It starts one state at a time to relieve just about any form of prohibition. Sometimes it through the state, sometimes against but that’s how the ball rolls

  38. grudenthediva says: Nov 7, 2012 8:09 PM

    “Not only does the Federal Gov’t have the resources, but more importantly: They don’t have the CONSTITUTIONAL authority! There’s this little thing called the 10th amendment that the Feds like to ignore.”

    There’s also these things called the Commerce Clause and the Supremacy Clause that a lot of you “states rights” people like to ignore.

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