Over a quarter of the NFL teams now play in states with legal recreational marijuana.
And at the moment, it’s still illegal in the eyes of the NFL.
Via NBCChicago.com, the Illinois House on Friday passed a plan 66-47 which will legalize the use of recreational marijuana. Governor J.B. Pritzker has already said he would sign the bill.
Specifically, the law will allow Illinois residents 21 and older to buy marijuana from licensed dispensaries.
That makes Illinois the 11th state to allow legal recreational marijuana, along with Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
That puts nine NFL teams within the jurisdiction of those states: The Rams, Chargers, 49ers, Raiders, Broncos, Patriots, Lions, Seahawks, and now the Bears. The Raiders are covered once they move to Las Vegas as well.
The league still tests for marijuana, though those who get caught are generally guilty of something other than smoking (i.e. stupidity, since the tests are easy to beat). With players including Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Chris Long talking about marijuana openly and honestly, the stigma is beginning to fade.
Whether the league takes away penalties for it with the next collective bargaining agreement or not, it’s clear that attitudes about the plant are changing, one state at a time.