With Marijuana becoming legal in more states every year, some interesting questions are on the horizon for American professional sports leagues: Will they allow their players to use recreational pot in states where it’s legal? Will they ever stop testing their athletes for something society is deeming more and more acceptable?
The major issue facing sports leagues in dealing with marijuana is the fact that they are an interstate commerce, which means they are regulated by the federal government, thereby forcing them to follow Uncle Sam’s rules regarding pot, that it’s illegal. Even in states where marijuana is legal, you are subject to being arrested if you cross state lines with any in your possession.
In the National Football League, they have tried to do what many cities and states have done, take away some of the enforcement of marijuana laws; even going so far as to tell the players what day of the year they will test players, that date, is April 20th. Of course, players with other substance abuse issues are tested more often, and a failed drug test does warrant a suspension. Football players claim that marijuana use helps them with concussions and general pain management after a game, helping them get through the long season. Another problem facing the NFL is there are no studies that support these positions, which gives some owners an excuse not to allow a more widespread use of pot.
As with many major corporations who drug test their employees, sports leagues are going to continue testing players as along as marijuana is illegal under federal laws and while they will accept billions of dollars for corporate America. The question they all will face as they negotiate their collective bargaining agreements is how much do they really want to test for pot or what give backs they will ask the players for if they want to continue to use marijuana? Do they really want players glamorizing marijuana on social media; and what will their corporate sponsors say when some high profile players do?
With commissioners hired to protect their leagues and their cash flows, it is hard to imagine that any of them will be allowed to change their position until Uncle Sam does; and honestly, I don’t think that’s a bad thing since just because you CAN smoke pot, doesn’t mean you MUST!