Changes in the country’s attitude toward marijuana use may be taking effect in football.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that the NFL Players Association is actively studying the use of medical marijuana as opposed to opioids as a pain management issue and is in the process of putting together a committee to study it.
NFLPA assistant executive director of external affairs George Atallah clarified that the committee will “look at pain management for NFL players” and should not be labeled a “marijuana committee.”
This news comes one day after three states approved recreational marijuana use (California, Massachusetts, Nevada) and at least three approved medical marijuana use (Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota).
A total of 29 states will now permit cannabis use for medical reasons and eight states, including the District of Columbia, will permit recreational marijuana use. Of the 29 states, 14 of them play host to an NFL franchise. Colorado and Washington, home to the Broncos and the Seahawks respectively, legalized recreational marijuana use in 2012.
The National Football League is listening to “science and medical experts” regarding the use of marijuana as a method of pain management. Rapoport reports that the NFL has “not yet formed a consensus” on the matter. However, if the experts do recommend change, then the NFL says they will talk with the NFLPA about it.
Marijuana use is currently prohibited in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA and is subject to a fine or suspension without pay for positive or missed tests.
If changes to the CBA were to be recommended, Rapoport adds this could be an issue both parties would take up year-to-year as they renegotiate the CBA, which has five years left.