Article by Mark Maske, Washington Post
Leaders of the NFL Players Association are preparing a proposal that would amend the sport’s drug policies to take a “less punitive” approach to dealing with recreational marijuana use by players, according to the union’s executive director, DeMaurice Smith.
The proposal will be presented to union’s board of player representatives, Smith said Tuesday. If it is approved by those players, Smith said, the proposal will be made to the league. The NFL would have to agree to any changes to the drug policy, which is negotiated and jointly administered by the league and players’ union.
The proposal to modify the manner in which the league deals with recreational marijuana use would, if it is delivered, come as the NFLPA’s recently formed pain management committee separately studies the issue of marijuana use by players as a pain management tool and whether that should be permissible under the drug policies.
“I do think that issues of addressing it more in a treatment and less punitive measure is appropriate,” Smith said in a meeting with Washington Post reporters and editors. “I think it’s important to look at whether there are addiction issues. And I think it’s important to not simply assume recreation is the reason it’s being used.”
Marijuana use currently is banned by the NFL and positive or missed tests can result in fines and suspensions for players.