Currently, the window for the NFL’s annual marijuana testing opens on April 20 (yep, 4/20) and lasts until early August. Which means that players who hope to stay on the right side of the program need to get clean roughly a month before 4/20 and stay clean until they’re tested, with the test coming as late as August.
The new CBA, if accepted by the players, would reduce the duration of the testing window dramatically. Per multiple sources, the window for annual testing would be open for only two weeks.
This reduces significantly the amount of time each year that players would have to refrain from using marijuana, if they aren’t already in the program (and thus subject to enhanced testing).
As one source explained it, a new CBA also would include dramatically reduced penalties, with suspensions happening only in the event of extreme and repeated disregard of the policy or significant violations of applicable law regarding the possession and use of marijuana.
So while it won’t be legalized within the NFL’s internal judicial system, it will be largely decriminalized — and the effort to catch violators will be dramatically curtailed.
It’s unclear when the two-week window will open. It’s much better to get it out of the way early in the offseason program. If the two-week period comes during training camp, that will force players who want to not test positive to refrain from using during the final few weeks before the grind returns.