Article by Zach Harris, Merry Jane
The NFL Players Association will get together for their annual meeting later this month, and cannabis will be a significant topic of discussion. And while players and their agents worry about how possible federal cannabis enforcement could affect the league, the NFLPA is also hoping to change league policy concerning positive marijuana tests.
In an interview with USA Today, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith stressed the importance of treating cannabis use as a medical issue, and one that may be an indicator of other, more serious conditions.
“I think that there is a better way,” Smith said, “to evaluate players who test positive for marijuana to figure out whether or not they have just a recreational use issue, whether they have an addiction problem, but equally important, whether or not they’re using marijuana as a result of some other issue that we’re not even looking for – whether there is a depression issue, whether there is an anxiety issue. And currently, the way the system works, that evaluation, that therapeutic look at the player isn’t occurring.”
Smith didn’t discuss cannabis as a viable medical option for football players facing immense physical pain and stress, but the Players Association has formed a pain management committee that will explore the possible benefits of CBD for NFL players and look to find other alternatives to opioid based pain pills.
But while cannabis remains on the banned substance list, Smith is dedicated to finding a more comprehensive reaction to player use than just punishment. The way he sees it, positive cannabis tests should be treated like concussions, and require a comprehensive analysis.