Three months ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called marijuana addictive and unhealthy for players long term. His stance seems to be softening.
On the heels of news that the NFL has offered to collaborate with the NFLPA to study the potential benefits of marijuana in managing pain for the league’s players, Goodell on Thursday called marijuana “a medical issue” that merits further research.
“If pain management is something that medical marijuana can address responsibly, that’s something that our medical community is evaluating,” Goodell said at a forum at the Broncos’ Dove Valley headquarters, via Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. “We just proposed to our union in the last month or so that we put some research money behind that to see how we could implement that . . . if they can address pain management in an effective and safe fashion. That’s something that I assume will get a lot of discussion, but hopefully it involves a lot of research and medical opinions that can help us make the best decisions.”
The league currently bans marijuana in its collectively bargained substance-abuse policy and has taken a strong stance against its use by players. However, in a recent letter to the NFLPA, the NFL offered to work with the players in cannabis research.
According to The Washington Post, the NFL’s letter to the union outlined multiple areas for potential research, including pain management for both acute and chronic conditions.