NFLPA continues to focus on marijuana for therapeutic reasons

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The league has a marijuana problem, and the league knows it.

On the surface, people like Commissioner Roger Goodell can justify the ongoing marijuana ban by calling it “unhealthy” and “addictive,” while ignoring that plenty of other things are “unhealthy” and “addictive” (like the pain medications players routinely take to keep playing) and overlooking the reality that the NFL has no business telling players what they can or can’t do on their own private time, when those things are wholly unrelated to their jobs. At a deeper level, the NFL knows that a straight-faced excuse for persisting in the pot prohibition must be articulated in conceal the real reason for it: Collective bargaining.

The NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed years ago to prevent players from smoking marijuana. If the players want that to change, the league believes they need to be prepared to make a concession at the bargaining table. (Indeed, when Cowboys owner Jerry Jones recently argued to his colleagues that the NFL needs to change its position on marijuana, he was reminded that the players should give something up, if they want to get the power to use it.) Given that most players either don’t smoke or are smart enough to navigate the substance-abuse testing procedures, it will be difficult to persuade them to give something up for something that they don’t want or need.

The NFLPA meanwhile hopes to separately pressure the league to relax the marijuana restriction not because the league has secured a concession at the bargaining table but because it’s the right thing to do. That’s why NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said Tuesday on ESPN’s Outside The Lines (via SportsBusiness Daily), “We intended to present a proposal to the league that has probably more of a therapeutic approach to those who test positive for marijuana. The idea is simply to make sure that we understand whether a player is suffering from something other than just a desire to smoke marijuana.”

It’s a smart and reasonable position, and this is one of those occasions (rare as they may be) where the NFL needs to step away from back-and-forth, tit-for-tat of collective bargaining and agree that it’s in everyone’s interests to allow players who need marijuana for therapeutic reasons to use it instead of drugs far more unhealthy and far more addictive than marijuana.

40 responses to “NFLPA continues to focus on marijuana for therapeutic reasons

  1. There’s a very simple answer here the league should be able to live with.

    Marijuana has 2 compounds, THC which is what get you high, and CBD, which is the actual painkilling compound.

    THC can be psychologically addicting but is not physically addictive.

    CBDs do not get you high, and have zero addictive properties.

    The league should let players use CBD products for painkilling and not allow the THC products if they feel that strongly about it.

    Its a no brainer. Not addictive like opioids, does not damage your body like opioids can, and is an effective painkiller.

    However this would require Goodell and his science denying cronies to understand something that involves actual science facts, which they consider some sort of voodoo. Therefore they will consider to insist on damaging, addictive opioid products and not allow CBDs.

  2. Heroin is also a great pain killer. So is liquid LSD. Morphine is a rush if you can buy it on the black market. Let the players get high, why not. It a trip.like non other.

  3. It is not a PED.

    Therefore there is no reason for it to be on the banned substance list. PERIOD.

  4. No one is using it for therapeutic reasons and no one cares. Just let them use it for recreational purposes. How is that going to hurt the game? They’re allowed to drink alcohol and eat sugar, right? Both of those are worse for you than marijuana.

  5. For the 1,000,000,000,000,000,000th time.. YOU DON’T HAVE TO SMOKE IT!!!!! Gawd, I’m getting tired of educating people on this.

    The ones that want to smoke it are the ones that want to get high. Smoking is lethal to your lungs, no matter what substance you are smoking.

    As harrisonhits2 correctly points out above, you can use CBDs and be completely separated from the whole “get high” aspect. And you can get in oil, capsule, and edible form.

    And of course, Big Pharma is doing their part to help the government to continue to perpetuate the outright lies about medical marijuana, because those companies would lose billions of dollars if the masses found out there was something better, cheaper and less addicting than Big Pharma’s products.

    Maybe one of these days people in influential and powerful positions will get off their lazy butts and look past the Neanderthal “evidence” that the government, Hollywood and Big Pharma keep parroting to see that there is actual science that shows this plant is not the world’s biggest problem.

  6. When it comes to the health and well being of the players, I would hope that the NFL would allow science and the doctors to determine what’s best. Leave politics and P.R. out of it. This is no different than brain injuries. You have to do what’s best for the players. I don’t think the commissioner is an M.D.

  7. If CBD alone is a non addictive pain killer why don’t they make Marijuana products that have the THC (psychologically addicting and get you high portion) removed ? Seems to me that would make everyone happy including Mr. Sessions.

  8. OR they could just lighten up, and say that if it’s legal where you are, do what you want, we won’t test for it.

  9. harrisonhits2 says:
    May 2, 2017 5:07 PM
    There’s a very simple answer here the league should be able to live with.

    Marijuana has 2 compounds, THC which is what get you high, and CBD, which is the actual painkilling compound.

    THC can be psychologically addicting but is not physically addictive.

    CBDs do not get you high, and have zero addictive properties.
    ——————————————————————–
    This isn’t wholly accurate. From the United Patients Group(on medical Cannabis):
    “What it does: THC (THC IMAGE one that gets you “high.” It is created when the plant matter is dried and heated as a result of smoking, cooking, or extracting. THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system and the immune system, resulting in relaxation, reduced pain, and increased appetite.

    CBDs also reduce pain in some ways and have other benefits, but THC does also. THC may also help with muscle strains.

    Wasn’t trying to tear down the argument you made, but it’s important to be accurate here, unlike Goodell and his statements before the draft (designed only to encourage the NFLPA into concessions)

    Finally, the players could adopt the use of edibles, nullifying Goodell’s rather stupid comments about the smoke even more.

  10. “If CBD alone is a non addictive pain killer why don’t they make Marijuana products that have the THC (psychologically addicting and get you high portion) removed ? ”

    They do. The legal dispensaries here in RI have quite a few CBD only products.

  11. harrisonhits2 says:
    May 2, 2017 5:07 PM
    There’s a very simple answer here the league should be able to live with.

    Marijuana has 2 compounds, THC which is what get you high, and CBD, which is the actual painkilling compound.

    THC can be psychologically addicting but is not physically addictive.

    CBDs do not get you high, and have zero addictive properties.

    The league should let players use CBD products for painkilling and not allow the THC products if they feel that strongly about it.

    Its a no brainer. Not addictive like opioids, does not damage your body like opioids can, and is an effective painkiller.

    However this would require Goodell and his science denying cronies to understand something that involves actual science facts, which they consider some sort of voodoo. Therefore they will consider to insist on damaging, addictive opioid products and not allow CBDs.
    – – – –

    With all due respect, this is a terrible, terrible idea. This is what I call “the new prohibition” because it allows politicians (or regular people) to look sympathetic to sufferers while still keeping marijuana illegal.

    There are thousands of compounds in marijuana. They all have different properties and health benefits. THC has both mental and physical benefits, in addition to being psychoactive (the stuff that gets you high).

    Also, testing would be difficult unless the CBDs you are talking about are only synthetic CBDs (which most people would say don’t work or work efficiently). High CBD marijuana strains (like Charlotte’s Web) still have very low amounts of THC in the plant. So then you fall back into the dilemna of “what level of THC” is acceptable.

    How about we keep it simple and just legalize marijuana for recreational and medical purposes and then spend our time arguing about more important things, like the NFL draft.

  12. Stop believing Goodell, Sessions et al. who deceive and scare-monger about marijuana.

    Clearly, as research shows, marijuana helps relieve pain, helps some medical conditions (e.g., glaucoma), it’s not addictive and it’s much safer than many other legal pain-relievers.

    The only reason that marijuana remains illegal is because it threatens the profits of the alcohol, pharmaceutical and private prisons industries, and the alcohol and pharmaceutical industries are big NFL advertisers.

  13. This is like the abortion debate. The pro-abortionists only talk about it in the event of the mothers life being in danger, when most are done simply because the mother doesn’t want the responsibility. Most people who smoke dope just want to get stoned, not because they have some medical problem.

  14. jgedgar70 says:

    The ones that want to smoke it are the ones that want to get high.
    ========================================

    Which covers 99.9% of users.

  15. Hey go ahead and smoke it up, it’s all for the health and well being of the players.

    P.S. You now forfeit your ability to sue the NFL for CTE or any other reasons.

  16. abninf says:
    May 2, 2017 6:34 PM
    This is like the abortion debate. The pro-abortionists only talk about it in the event of the mothers life being in danger, when most are done simply because the mother doesn’t want the responsibility. Most people who smoke dope just want to get stoned, not because they have some medical problem.
    =========

    Yeah, and people who drink alcohol just want to get drunk. So why is one legal and one illegal again?

  17. Marijuana is not legal anywhere in the US. The NFLPA should focus on getting a change at the Federal level so that the drug may be appropriately prescribed by doctors for conditions such as pain.

  18. All of debate between CBD v. THC, smoking to get high v. smoking to alleviate pain, medical v. recreational use, pot is addictive v.pot isn’t addictive, blah blah blah blah, while well intentioned, does nothing but provide a further smoke screen (pun unintended) around what the real debate should be.

    There is no argument as to whether alcohol is addictive (it is) and whether people die from its use (they do), or whether opiods are addictive (they are) and if people die from their use (they do). Yet both these of these substances are legal for purchase- one with a subscription, one without.

    Only marijuana continues to be (mostly) illegal. The only debate that is really worth having is why this is true.

    BTW- I haven’t smoked pot since college. I just believe in personal freedom/personal responsibility.

  19. @ harrisonhits2 says:

    “There’s a very simple answer here the league should be able to live with.”

    “The league should let players use CBD products for painkilling and not allow the THC products if they feel that strongly about it.”

    There are two caveats with your argument:

    1) The drug tests the league uses doesn’t test for CBD, it only tests for THC. Feel free to look this up.

    2) There are several states (with NFL teams) that allow for personal and/or medical marijuana use. If it is allowed legally in the state the teams are in, it should be allowed to be used by the residents of that state (due to ALL the money from those fans supporting the NFL team). THC is not performance-enhancing, and it should be allowed, IMHO.

    I can guarantee you there is a pharmaceutical influence at work here that is behind the scenes, and they obviously don’t want to lose the NFL players to marijuana. The NFL has a huge following, and it would be a very influential move if the NFL began to allow marijuana use for their players.

  20. Instead of giving up something, the NFLPA should insist that owners and management be tested as well. Then the NFLPA should give up that demand, in return for concessions that ease demands on both owners, management, and players. NFL ownership consists of aging rich dudes with all kinds of ailments, and their spoiled rich heir kids, both groups that likely have as much interest in this matter as players. Certainly there have been a number of occasions where fans have wondered what Jed Yorke is smoking while making important decisions.

  21. merde4brains says:
    May 2, 2017 6:34 PM
    Stop believing Goodell, Sessions et al. who deceive and scare-monger about marijuana.

    Clearly, as research shows, marijuana helps relieve pain, helps some medical conditions (e.g., glaucoma), it’s not addictive and it’s much safer than many other legal pain-relievers.

    The only reason that marijuana remains illegal is because it threatens the profits of the alcohol, pharmaceutical and private prisons industries, and the alcohol and pharmaceutical industries are big NFL advertisers.
    —–
    EXACTLY

  22. Opportune time to make a change at the Commissioner spot.

    Put someone in there that’s isn’t such a tool.

    Move beyond DeflateGate, Ray Rice, etc etc etc

    😉

  23. Note:

    NBA – doesn’t test for Cannabis 
    NHL – doesn’t test for Cannabis 
    MLB – doesn’t test for Cannabis 
    MLS – doesn’t test for Cannabis 

    The only major American sport that still tests for Cannabis is the one group it would most benefit which is the actual Collison sport where there is a 100% chance of injury aka Professional Football.

    The 2 main reasons its still banned are; 
    1. Cannabis is not heavily regulated in most states thus the quality of product and understanding of the health benefits are easily misconstrued with propaganda. Like many have said in this thread people are unaware of 1000s of organic compounds found in Cannabis that are beneficial and can act in similar ways to opioids but are significantly less harmful on your body and long term health. As more applied science goes to Cannabis the more clear it becomes that medical Cannabis and recreational Cannabis would likely be the safest “Drug” of them all out of alcohol or pills or other opioids. 

    2. And Most importantly – the NFL is the only real major professional sport in America where the owners DO NOT offer guaranteed contracts. With that in mind the NFLPA is by far in the worst position with negotiations with the league and owners. In addition to that the NFL has a massive lawsuit over both opioid issuing abuse as well as hiding the effects of concussions with misleading science. Cannabis has become a hot button for many reasons. Cannabis offers medicinal and recreational benefits both Physically as well as psychologically. 

  24. The NFL is going to use Cannabis as a bargaining chip for the next big player negotiations and will ask the players to reduce or drop other demands or lawsuits in order to do away with the restrictions on Cannabis. 

    If every major American sport does not test for it they essentially allow usage and those sports seem to be doing fine. The NFL is the last league run completely unfairly with regards to the players and we’ve seen its ugly head pop up more and more with all the unnecessary rule changes that only complicate and extend games. Since so many people love the sport they’d rather maintain status quo then acknowledge players are getting screwed in comparison to ALL other professional sports. Players lose there career and millions upon millions face public ridicule and get black listed from teams and are considered junkies and lose endorsements  for something 100% allowed in every other sport.

  25. The entire Seahawks secondary will need to use it for “therapeutic” reasons.

  26. phinatic29 says:
    May 2, 2017 5:22 PM

    It is not a PED.

    Therefore there is no reason for it to be on the banned substance list. PERIOD.
    ___________________

    You mean no reason other than it’s illegal by federal law.

  27. I’m sure all the NFL players are going to bed tonight dreaming nice dreams about how their adoring fans love and care about them so much. So much concern expressed about how badly they need access to the restricted miracle working CBD. Oh and now that the pain is subsiding, why withhold the relaxation delivering THC. Come on, the NFL allows the players to get a massage. What’s the difference? And now let’s just add the 1,000s of organic compounds as well. We have no clue what they do, but hey, it’s just a bunch of compounds that include carbon in the mix. How much of a slippery slope can that be?

    OK, now I see the argument. You’re right. It’s just about collective bargaining.

  28. it does not take a rocket scientist to know about how good weed is and a non-pred

  29. I’m with most of this article except this tidbit:
    ‘overlooking the reality that the NFL has no business telling players what they can or can’t do on their own private time’

    Really? That’s an interesting take. So, the NFL shouldn’t has a say in things like: getting players to drink and drive less? (they have a car service) The NFL shouldn’t punish players for domestic violence if it happens on private time? Don’t tell me ‘Well, duh of course not, those are illegal things.’ Marijuana, whatever your thoughts are, is still illegal by federal law.

    Teams shouldn’t tell their players not to dirt bike on their off day…because it’s private time?

    They shouldn’t tell players to stay in shape over the offseason?

    There’s really a lot of things they have business in telling players what they can do in private time

  30. It’s time for the NFL to realize it the 21st century and the Mary Jane policy is outdated. Especially with pharmaceutical and alcohol ads saturating the TV commercials during NFL games.

  31. As someone who uses and distributes CBD Oil I can tell You it WORKS for relieving pain and there are plenty of studies as well as historical data to support this so its time for the NFL to get off its fake soapbox and allow the Players to decide whats best for their bodies

  32. I think it’s reasonable for the NFL to at least consider that if you give a pass on weed there would AT LEAST be ONE player going back to his inner city roots and setting up shop as the local Scarface. That could be a bad look for the league if it happened to become wide spread.

    I’m 100% fine with the Mary Jane. But I’m not trying to run a multi billion dollar business. Plus I doubt the NFL wants the “slacker” stereotype that naturally comes alongside pot smoking. I’m just being objective. I can see solid points to both sides.

    -Resident slacker.

  33. I don;t use marijuana, I don’t even drink.

    However, I find it crazy that knowing what we know now that the benefits of marijuana are not looked at more closely for pain management and with other issues NFL Players have.

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