NFLPA plans to explore whether marijuana is safer alternative to opiates

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As society continues to wrestle with the acceptability, or not, of marijuana, the NFL and NFL Players Association try to strike a proper balance regarding the permissibility of the substance.

For now, marijuana remains banned. But with a testing policy that is easily navigated and a schedule of punishments less onerous than it used to be, players can smoke for most of the year if they’re smart. And if they get caught, they have plenty of chances to choose football over marijuana before suspensions commence.

For further changes to happen, the NFLPA will need to make concessions at the bargaining table. And so the question becomes what concessions would be made to help the small fraction of the rank-and-file that can’t figure out how to smoke marijuana without getting in trouble.

“What will we ever give up for marijuana?” NFLPA president Eric Winston said on PFT Live. “We get tested once per year, 99 percent of them know it’s coming.”

In lieu of making concessions, the NFLPA apparently plans to apply pressure to the league based on medical research. Specifically, if the NFLPA can prove that marijuana is a better alternative for pain management than opiates, the NFL may have no choice but to embrace the substance, at least for medical reasons.

“Is this a better alternative?” Winston said. “At the end of the day the owners have to decide what they want to do. Do they want to make the game healthier for the players or not?”

Typically, the owners simply want to make their bargaining position stronger, which compels them to seek changes to the relationship that benefits the league whenever the owners can. But if the medical evidence ever becomes clear and compelling that marijuana is a better alternative to opiates, the league may have to decide whether to abandon the standard approach to bargaining in order to make decisions aimed at the best interests of the players and, in turn, the league.

For more from Winston, including the status of CBA talks and whether the union would accept an expanded regular season or expanded playoffs, check out the full video of the interview.

20 responses to “NFLPA plans to explore whether marijuana is safer alternative to opiates

  1. “…99 percent of them know it’s coming”

    The other 1 percent were told, but they baked their short-term memory and quickly forgot.

  2. Just continue to treat all players with addictive opiates. That seems to be working for everyone in this country. Remember, it doesn’t really have to be good for anyone but the pharmaceutical companies.

  3. Good plan. Why should the NFLPA have to concede anything in this instance? Player safety should be bi-partisan, and should not require bargaining. Just do what’s right for the players, it’s easy enough.

    “We no longer test for marijuana. Players arrested for marijuana use or possession will still be subject to the personal conduct policy.”

    And then grown men playing a brutal sport could choose a safe alternative to opioid painkillers, imagine that. Potentially prevent CTE as well.

  4. anyone who has real chronic pain, like players, knows that pot is a pale substitute for pharmaceutical opiates… there’s not even a remote comparison, and frankly most people that are pushing it simply want to get high, it helps with nausea and insomnia for cancer patients and the like but it erodes short term memory and does a lot of other unpredictable things to the brain

    pot is federally banned and t’s likely that the entire so called legal pot industry will be shut down in Trumps term, and there won’t be any legitimate legal cases to throw at it… the DEA and FDA have it on Schedule I which means no legal use in all 50 states… all Trump has to do is make a phone call, it doesn’t even require an executive order and all these supposed legal pot companies all going to federal prison

    The NFL and the States have gone light on enforcement, but that doesn’t make it genuinely legal in the US

    Despite all the hubub, pharmaceutical opiates work very well, are subtle when does correctly and most importantly are genuinely legal

    the NFLPA just show some remarkable lack of foresight by taking this position

  5. It seems really risky for the NFLPA to rely on the NFL to actually read medical research and come to some kind of sensible conclusion. If there is one thing that Framegate proved, it is that the league office has absolutely no clue what it is doing when it comes to basic science.

  6. abninf says:
    Mar 3, 2017 7:58 AM
    It’s bizarre how obsessed people are with smoking dope.
    It’s bizarre how other more addictive and dangerous vices are actually legal while something vastly safer is still illegal.

    Financially weaken crime. Legalize pot.

  7. “… 99 percent of them know it’s coming”

    – – – – – – – – – – – –

    1 percent don’t smoke.

  8. 1. Marijuana is not a miracle drug with no downsides.
    2. That said, it is without any shred of doubt safer than opiates of any kind. As reported last month, one county in WV averaged over 400 pills PER PERSON last year; let that sink in – even including babies, healthy adults, etc. there were enough pills floating around that county to give everybody one pill every day of the year and still have a two month supply left over. That is not pain management or abuse of medication by patients, that is tacitly legal addiction peddling. Certainly marijuana is not as safe or side-effect free as the acolytes believe, but it is nowhere near as dangerous as the legalized heroin that big pharma doles out.

  9. Test?

    How about this test.

    Will you die if you smoke a pound of weed or will you die if you take a bottle full of pills.

    I think everyone knows the answer to this question except BIG PHARMA who will require 15 years of testing

  10. Just the headline shows how ignorant people are to drugs. Of course marijuana is safer than opioids!

    Stupid government and pharmaceuticals companies! Damn you all.

  11. Winston looks like a camel and should’ve been out of the league years ago. Who cares what he thinks?

    That said, let em smoke

  12. magnumpimustache says:
    Mar 3, 2017 8:57 AM

    How about this test.

    Will you die if you smoke a pound of weed or will you die if you take a bottle full of pills.

    I think everyone knows the answer to this question except BIG PHARMA who will require 15 years of testing
    So a smoking a joint is less dangerous than taking tylenol?

  13. medialovesthecowboys says:
    Mar 3, 2017 7:26 AM
    Thanks Reagan

    Reagan? Nixon started the “War on Drugs” :/

  14. Pharmaceuticals kill over 237,000US citizens annually. 78 US citizens die PER DAY in the USA due to overdose of opium-based pharmaceuticals. EVERY 9 MINUTES a child is admitted to a hospital emergency room for pharmaceutical drug poisoning and many of these children never go home again. Booze consumption kills over 88,000 people in this nation yearly. 5,000 people are killed in traffic accidents due to pharmaceutical intoxicated drivers every year. 16,000 people are killed in traffic accidents due to alcohol intoxicated drivers every year.

    No matter how much cannabis is consumed even an entire bag of edibles it is NEVER FATAL and the nexterm day every thing is back to normal with no hangover. The numbers are so low police don’t bother to even keep statistics on accidents caused solely by cannabis intoxication.

  15. It’s not the illusory “dangers” of marijuana that keep it mostly illegal and railed-against by the likes of Jeff Sessions. As always in America, it’s about the cash — if marijuana is legalized, the pharmaceutical, alcohol and private-prisons industries will lose big $ and they threaten the NFL with the loss of advertising $ if the NFL doesn’t keep rules penalizing the players for using marijuana.

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