Ravens tackle Eugene Monroe: NFL should change marijuana policy


Based on commissioner Roger Goodell’s remarks at the Super Bowl, the NFL has no intention of changing its marijuana policy.

But one player has come out strong, saying it’s time for the league to take a closer look at that policy, to allow for a possible use of marijuana for pain relief and perhaps even help with concussions.

Your job automatically gives you the symptom of chronic pain,” Ravens tackle Eugene Monroe said in a story posted at CNN.com which discusses the potential medical benefits. “You’re hitting each other as hard as possible every single day in practice. Your body is in pain a lot of time.”

Monroe said more players are looking at marijuana as a pain relief option, as opposed to the opioids and anti-inflammatories that are commonly distributed. And though the league has drawn a line in the sand, Monroe said it’s time for them to advance the science.

“The NFL will need to have legitimate information before they remove marijuana from the banned substance list and ultimately not hurt their product in the field,” Monroe said. “But there’s opportunity in that space also, for the NFL to get involved and maybe lead efforts.”

Many players would likely be in favor of that, especially since marijuana is legal for recreational use in two of the cities in which the league does business already.

But based on Goodell’s almost out-of-hand rejections, it seems like any such change is years away.

87 responses to “Ravens tackle Eugene Monroe: NFL should change marijuana policy

  1. I think it is high time we ditched the “potential” prefix and just say medicinal benefits. We don’t say Tylenol has potential medicinal benefits. The stuff has been proven time and again to have great medicinal benefit.

  2. The NFL cannot legalize a substance that is illegal (in most states) in this country.

  3. The player isn’t wrong, but as long as it is a federally illegal drug the league will keep it that way. They don’t want to get sideways with federal law makers.

  4. The NFL should have done this years ago. Alot of doctors have begun to prescribe marijuana to teen athletes who have been injured to cut back on the rising opioid addiction that is plaguing the nation.

  5. Marijuana is a lot better for these athletes than man made prescription medication. It’s natural, safer, and far less addictive. Give a thumbs up if you think it should be legal in this country.

  6. And the nflpa should sue or at the very least push hard for reform in the next cba discussions. For something that is proven to help with so many of the problems that playing professionally can create to be banned is old-fashioned at best, punitive at worst. The league claims all this safety concern and don’t mind advertisers schlepping alcohol constantly. They are holding onto this policy quite simply as leverage for bargaining. Is there honestly ANYONE in the country under the age of 60 that thinks marijuana poses half of the threat that alcohol does? Whether you smoke it or not is irrelevant to the facts.

  7. He’s exactly right. I can take opioid painkillers that my doctor would give me by the vat, and i wake up in the morning hungover and not able to function for a couple hours and then poorly for another couple thereafter.

    Or I can smoke before I go to bed, which I can do legally in my state, and I wake up full speed ahead with no side effects.

  8. The “medicinal” argument is pushed by the pro-marijuana lobby as a justification for its wider legalization but it is no more a help with pain management than meditation or pain diversion therapy – neither of which have the negative side-effects of marijuana. And the drug is often stronger today and we know more about its dangers, particularly on long-term impacts on teens’ brains’ development and other mental issues (such as paranoia and depression etc). And yes, I did inhale in college – and eat brownies – but won’t again.

  9. At least he has the class to state his mind instead of getting caught driving stoned like Leveon Bell and then whining for leniency. That’s the Ravens’ way!

  10. In general, I think pot should be legalized and regulated. What struck me was the mentioning of opioids for pain use. If the options are between pot and opioids, I’d much rather players smoke up. The highly addictive properties of opioids has fueled the heroin epidemic of recent years (governments crack down on opioids and addicts turn to the closest analogue – heroin).

    Of course PM is just a small part of pot use so I’m not blind to what this could create; I just don’t think it’s that big a deal.

  11. I don’t smoke weed, I don’t care if somebody else does. But it’s currently against the law in most states. To say the NFL should change their policy to accept it is the same as saying the NFL should change its policy on DWIs. If you can get arrested for it then you probably shouldn’t be doing it. And it’s like that with every job, not just the NFL.

  12. Its not a PED in the traditional sense, so I dont have a problem removing it from the banned substance list, especially when you can legally purchase it in some states. Plus a lot of NFL players clearly enjoy getting baked.

  13. While I can sympathize with the plight/pain football players are subjected to on a daily basis, my question for the players in favor of removing marijuana from the banned substance list is this — Since recreational marijuana has only been legalized in the states ofAlaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, how can the NFL make “legal” a substance that is illegal in 46 states and 30 NFL cities?

    If it is illegal for the general population to use a substance without a medical prescription, then it should be illegal for athletes to use that substance without a prescription.

    When recreational marijuana is legal throughout the US (or the 32 NFL cities) then like alcohol it should be removed from the banned substance list.

  14. I mean, arent they passing around handfuls of vicodin like its candy to these guys? Let them catch a buzz if it helps them deal with the job.

  15. levanderwilliams says:
    Mar 10, 2016 8:29 AM
    The NFL cannot legalize a substance that is illegal (in most states) in this country.


    So should Broncos players be able to smoke weed? How about teams who play in states where it is decriminalized?

  16. levanderwilliams says:
    Mar 10, 2016 8:29 AM
    The NFL cannot legalize a substance that is illegal (in most states) in this country

    Yes they can. They just stop testing for it. Or they test for it so the teams are aware but there are no punishments. There is no law or government mandate that the NFL has to test for any drugs.

  17. And I’m sure the first time Monroe tried MJ was after he had played football for years and was in chronic, constant pain. LMAO

  18. Big drug companies can’t make money from weed. It is that simple. They rule.

    So (WE) taxpayers spend billions fighting to keep a naturally grown plant illegal while (THEY) big drug companies make billions getting people addicted.

    Pills have their place but so does weed.

    It amazes me how stupid this country can be. Stop wasting money fighting weed and start collecting taxes from it.


    retired PO


    I looked the other way as many times as I could. Seriously stupid law.

  19. The fact that pot is listed as a Schedule 1 drug by the Federal Govt is ridiculous. Basically that means it has NO medicinal value. Which has been proven false. It was the 1930’s when the oil barons pressured the govt to list Marijuana/Hemp as a dangerous drug purely for business and greed reasons. Time to make the long overdue change, but we are talking about the federal govt where nothing gets done and money and corruption rule. I have rheumatoid arthritis and pot not only helps with pain management on bad days, but also with the nausea from some of the medication I take. Fortunately for me, I can still buy it fairly easy.

  20. While it remains federally banned, many if not most states make medical allowances. I just moved to Delaware and we even have it here. If a player can get a prescription for it he should be allowed to use it. It has no performance enhancing qualities. The NFL is perfectly OK with letting players become opiate addicts. I come from Philly and live in Delaware. Let me tell you how much healthier opiates are…

  21. The Marijuana laws should be changed in both federal and state laws, it’s past time. Cigarettes tell you on the box, it can kill you but it’s legal to sell (big money) alcohol makes crazies more than pot, but again it’s big money, tax marijuana and make it legal, less money wasted on fighting it, and more income for states and government, and more room in jails for people who actually belong there…

  22. .
    The NFL cannot ” legalize” weed, but they can stop testing for it. Does anyone actually believe that firing up a few bones before the game would be ” performance enhancing”? There’d be a false start on every play.

  23. Based on the last few years, my guess is that would prefer to stay out of any and all crosshairs. Why go head to head with all the anti-marijuana people in the fanbase when they can just sell them stuff instead?

    I don’t think they care whether or not the players are in pain. If anyone wants to stop playing, they know there is someone else who can step right in. $$$

  24. Everyone claims they use it for pain relief, when in reality they just want to get stoned. If you crave it so bad then vote for politicians who want it legalized. Trump actually does.

  25. “advance the science”? This is the NFL we’re talking about. Science and intelligence has no place in the NFL according to the league.

  26. It doesn’t make sense for it to be banned in my mind. It does not affect the game in any way, and isn’t harming anyone outside the game. Drugs we prescribe, especially pain killers are very addictive and have very bad long term side effects. They are really rough on the body.

    @levanderwilliams says:
    Mar 10, 2016 8:29 AM
    “The NFL cannot legalize a substance that is illegal (in most states) in this country.”

    They would not be legalizing it, just not banning players for it. For all they know they used it in a state that it was legal to do so in.

  27. It doesn’t matter what the NFL says. Weed is trending towards being a multi billion dollar industry. It’ll be allowed sooner rather than later. Just a matter of time until the NFL has their own branded strain: ConKushon

  28. You don’t have to change anything. Just quietly stop testing for it and be done with suspending players for smoking it instead of taking pain pills with booze (which is cool)

  29. ecbutler says:
    Mar 10, 2016 8:55 AM
    …and isn’t harming anyone outside the game.
    Another false argument, because, it can and does. Long term health impacts from regular use. And it can affect others too – last year in my town was a case of a stoned driver crashing up onto a sidewalk and killing and maiming several pedestrians. Like anything that impairs responses or judgement, weed has those dangers too. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be so illegal, I’m saying in this and my previous post that the “medicinal-benefits” and “ain’t-hurting-nobody” arguments put forward by the pro-lobby don’t hold enough water.

  30. Just another example of Goodell choosing his own version of reality over scientific fact.

  31. Whether it should or shouldn’t be legal doesn’t really matter. What I find funny is that after it eventually is legalized (lets face it, it will be, the number of losers that cant handle life without getting drunk and/or high constantly are outnumbering the people that have a set), 10 years later, all of the “legalize marijuana” folks are going to be saying “you might as well legalize heroine, cuz everyone is already using it…”

  32. levanderwilliams says:Mar 10, 2016 8:29 AM

    The NFL cannot legalize a substance that is illegal (in most states) in this country.


    That’s true, but they can choose to no longer test for it.

  33. This is the first thing Eugene Monroe has ever cared about.
    Guy looks like he already indulges.
    If he was as passionate about playing ball as he was smoking the dope, Flacco would still have his ACL.

  34. icup89 says:
    Mar 10, 2016 9:03 AM

    You don’t have to change anything. Just quietly stop testing for it and be done with suspending players for smoking it instead of taking pain pills with booze (which is cool)

    Don’t be a dope, this is the NFL we are talking about. We all know that if the NFL turns a blind eye to it, that eventually they will abuse that. And then when the Colts and Ravens call up Goodell crying about the Patriots, then all of a sudden 25 players from the Patriots will get popped for smoking pot and suspended from the playoffs… Because that is how Goodell operates. no one cared about air pressure, until it was convenient to care. No one will care about pot, until its convenient to care. And Goodell can, legally within his collectively bargained authority, pick and choose when to flex his CBA muscles. Of course, that to me, has a far bigger impact on “the integrity of the game” than any amount of air pressure, marijuana, or “tampering” ever could

  35. levanderwilliams says:
    Mar 10, 2016 8:29 AM

    The NFL cannot legalize a substance that is illegal (in most states) in this country.


    Of course the NFL cannot legalize a substance. Monroe is not suggesting that. But the NFL can change its own policy towards a substance:

    1. NFL can stop testing players for it
    2. NFL can stop punishing players who are charged with possessing it
    3. NFL can fund research towards determining its effectiveness in treating pain & concussion.

    See the difference?

  36. Pharmaceutical company on line one. Please don’t do it Roger. We have our drugs that can actually cause, I mean alleviate pain, and then we even have more drugs for the damage our first drugs cause. Tee hee hee. Keep that miracle drug away from the players. It’s bad for our business.

  37. A Raven speaks on this. Oh the irony… the most criminalized team in NFL History has a guys speaking for Mary Jane. The Ravens should be forced to fold. They are a joke. They actually put up a statue for Ray “Atlanta” Lewis. Who is next Jamal Lewis, Ray Rice, Terrell Suggs, Dontae Stallworth??

  38. I’m reaaaaaaaaaaal sure the game will be so much better & safer with a bunch of rich millionaires running around high on the field……

    If you want to smoke so bad, just retire.

    These players sometimes are simply clueless.

  39. I was completely against marijuana growing up and then my mother injured her back severely. She was on opioids that would make her have severe side effects including weight loss, lack of awareness, and sometimes small seizures from accidental over dosage. My brother provided her with MJ in the last few months of her life after she was diagnosed with cancer and she said she wished she had used in the previous 7 years while she was doped up on legal prescription meds.

  40. The NFL Management Council (the owners) would probably alter the testing policy for cannabis if the NFLPA gives up something in return like say money. It seems like that is the one things the owners understand better than anything else.

  41. He needs to focus less on having the ability to smoke weed and more time getting his azz ready to play football. He’s missed a ton of time over the last two years and there is considerable discussion about him being soft and unreliable.

  42. At least he has the class to state his mind instead of getting caught driving stoned like Leveon Bell and then whining for leniency. That’s the Ravens’ way!

    That’s funny I thought the Raven way was an elevator video or a statue of a felon Thanks for clearing that up.

    In do time pot will be legalized every where.

  43. This is not really a call for the NFL to legalize Marijuana. It is a call for them to stop testing and punishing its use. The laws of the US have nothing to do with whether they test or not.

  44. ““advance the science””

    I missed that first time I read the article.

    Are you kidding me ? We have a league office that has no knowledge of 5th grade science, ie the ideal gas law, and denies it exists.

    Now you expect them to accept the science of medical marijuana ?

    Goodell’s National Integrity League

    Goodell is VILE

    Goodell and his cronies must go

  45. The NFL can take it off their list of banned substances and stop testing for it whether it’s legal or not. Since they’re no longer a government mandated monopoly, they don’t have to worry as much about it being illegal. It’s more problematic if a player gets arrested for it due to their conduct policy, but that can be finagled as well.

  46. If one wants to legalize pot for medicinal purposes I’m perfectly fine with that and I think that should be something that’s pushed through very quickly, but I don’t think his reasoning is genuine as I see it as players whining about not being able to party and smoke pot. You guys make a great living and make more money than most will ever dream of and maybe you can suck it up for the duration of your playing career to not light up. Is that too much to ask for?

  47. “When recreational marijuana is legal throughout the US (or the 32 NFL cities) then like alcohol it should be removed from the banned substance list.”

    There are dry counties, by that line of thinking (legal throughout the us) booze should be on the list too

  48. Patience people. The country is coming around on this issue and it will change very, very fast. Faster than the country’s change on other social issues. The Neanderthals come along begrudgingly but they come along.

    One study suggests marijuana acts as a pain “distractor” more than a pain “reliever”. But the bottom line is it works – very, very well for people with chronic pain. The pain relief is not theoretical. It’s real relief. And you don’t destroy your liver or become addicted the way prescription opioids do.

  49. regardless of some states passing laws that allow it’s use, it’s a federally regulated, Schedule I drug and if the Feds decide to crack down, watch out because anyone possessing or using it can go to jail and a State law won’t save them

    I’ll probably get voted down hard by everyone believing a state law will save them, but you guys are dead wrong, it only takes one call from the White House

  50. vikefansbc says:
    Mar 10, 2016 9:41 AM
    The NFL should allow players to drive 80 mph to work, since 80 mph is legal in some states. Same logic.

    Actually a better analogy is that the NFL should not allow anyone to drive 80MPH in any state because it is not legal in some states

  51. I dont think the sports leagues test for drugs because they want to. I believe Congress pressured them to do so. I do not know if MJ was included in that or not but if they stop testing or become vocal about potentially allowing it Congress would be more inclined to stick their noses into league business and there is no way the owners or Roger want that.

    Stop with the medicinal benefits argument. It is there mostly because it sounds better than I just want to get high. There may be some obscure benefits but these guys act like it is the primary reason when we all know it really isn’t. With the way the league tests, any player who tests positive is an absolute moron. Most get busted during the off season when they aren’t subjected to constant hits and pain like their argument claims. I guess Spicoli was suffering through a lot of pain in that movie.

  52. Thanks Mr. Monroe,

    Because of your comments, you are now on our radar as a weed user. Expect an unexpected request from the NFL for a urine sample from you.

  53. In reading some of these posts it looks like brain damage has already occurred in a lot of these people saying there is nothing wrong with this illegal drug !!!

  54. If you want real change, then write to your Congressmen and Senators. Stop blaming the NFL for following the laws of the country and states. The problem is the religious evangelicals and conservatives are the ones keeping marijuana illegal. Think about that the next election.

  55. Don’t see it happening unless the fed decriminalizes or legalizes weed… The sponsors are #1 above all else and NFL doesn’t want to look soft on drugs of any type.

  56. Yeah, okay. He wants the NFL to allow marijuana use by the players because their bodies are in pain a lot of the time.
    It doesn’t stop them from going out to nightclubs and strip joints though, does it? Do those strip joints ease their pain, too?
    Maybe the NFL should allow strippers on the bench, too.

  57. Until it’s legal I will continue to illegally procure and consume marijuana for pain relief, upset stomach, insomnia, joint pain and anxiety among many other medial issues.

    What is sad is about this?
    Local state gov’t can and have already decriminalized it, use it for medical purpose such as the ones I’ve listed above. And local US gov’ts are now taxing it and making money of it the industry, much like the alcohol and tobacco industries.

    Too bad the FeD is still lagging behind on this bc my hard earned paycheck will continue to fund the Mexican and/or Canadian drug lords / weed entrepreneurs .

  58. Don’t worry. As soon as “BIG MONEY” gets involved, and what I mean about big money. Is that the rich guys get richer and the politicians get their share. It’s already happening. PHARMA is pissed. They can’t make any bucks if people can grow their own medicine ……$$$$$$$

  59. vikefansbc says:
    Mar 10, 2016 9:41 AM

    The NFL should allow players to drive 80 mph to work, since 80 mph is legal in some states. Same logic.

    Do you have a source for the rule that prohibits them from doing that?

  60. It still amazes me that the NFL will allow the use of far more addicting drugs, such as Oxycodone, Vicodin and the many others. 52 percent of the retired players who were surveyed at some point said they used prescription pain medication. Of those users, 71 percent admitted misusing the drugs during their playing days and, of that same group, 63 percent said they obtained the pills from a nonmedical source: a teammate, coach, trainer, family member, dealer or the Internet.

  61. Big Pharma makes the NFL business look like a lemonade stand. It wouldn’t matter if 90% of Americans supported legalization.

    It’s easier for researchers to do studies on cocaine than MJ, simply because being Schedule I means more red-tape bureaucracy.

    We can also thank Big Oil for smothering 100 years of advancements on electric vehicles.

  62. I think the poster child for promoting marijuana shouldn’t be a guy who lacks the motivation to show up to work on a regular basis. Problem with pot is it makes you amotivational so a player who has problems getting motivated to the point he is about to get cut, shouldn’t be the person to speak out. If I was Goodell, I would point to Monroe and say, there is a perfect example of why we shouldn’t promote or encourage this. Of course, someone who shows up every day, busts their butt and does whatever the team needs isn’t the type of guy who wants to smoke pot anyway.

  63. I haven’t had any foreign buds in about 15 yrs. All homegrown and better quality.

    But it is illegal, and if you don’t like it…vote. If the players don’t like it, don’t sign or vote for the new CBA if restrictions are still in place. Either way don’t whine about it after the fact.

  64. The league could push its weight around on this issue, but it has no backbone. If Budweiser said they didn’t like people chewing gum, then bubblicious would be on the banned substance list.

  65. It is not a medicine that has gone thru FDA testing and evaluation. It is more like a naturopathic remedy. The fact that it is usually administered by burning it and inhaling the smoke mitigates heavily against its being medically used. If the effective compounds are isolated and compounded into a measured dose then perhaps it can be more easily legalized for medical use.

  66. He probably loves playing in Baltimore. Are the riots still going on? He fits right in.

  67. “You’re hitting each other as hard as possible every single day in practice.”

    I thought the CBA put an end to this. Sanctions for Harbaugh.

  68. Not gonna happen until at least the Federal laws against it are lifted… and as of right now, they aren’t. Even in places where it’s supposedly ‘legal’ it’s still against Federal law.

  69. 1000% agree people dont die from weed and most of those commercials are a super stretch

    i mean people dont pick up guns and shoot themselves from smoking a couple hits of a joint

    and thats more of a keep you guns locked up type of thing not a weed thing

    but you get my point
    glad someone finally had the balls to say something
    i just wish someone in the white house would do it too

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