New policy, if approved by players, would also decrease testing window from four months to two weeks.
The NFL is finally getting with the times.
A new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) proposal already approved by league owners would remove the possibility of players facing suspension for a failed marijuana test.
The proposal, now in the hands of the NFL’s Players Association, would also decrease the number of players subjected to THC testing and shrink the testing window from four months to just two weeks prior to training camp, according to Forbes.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been hinting that some progressive changes were coming. “I think the world is sensitive to the issue regarding marijuana,” Jones said. “It’s also an issue contemporarily we’re excited about being in step with the social and legal scene as it goes forward.
“And, so, we not only have the interest of competitiveness in mind when it comes to any type of substance, we have the issue of the law and we have the issue of the society focus on it. I think that (we can) expect an adjustment (in the) present way that marijuana is being thought about,” he added.
The new policy, if passed, might even convince some former NFL players who walked away from the game to give it another shot now that powerful pharmaceuticals aren’t their only option for pain management.
Former New England Patriots tight end, Rob Gronkowski, has said he would consider stepping out of retirement if players could use cannabidiol (CBD) to recover from injuries. “I don’t want to be banned from playing the sport I love because I’m using a product that anyone can buy right off the shelf at their local pharmacy,” Gronkowski said. “I’m not really sure why it’s banned.”
CBD has been touted for helping players recover from the heavy toll football takes on their bodies, Gronkowski said. “There were many times where you’re just sitting in meetings and you’re in agony, and you can’t really be focused because you’re in pain,” he said.
“I’m not saying you put this on and you’re going to be healed, that it’s a miracle. But you can apply this and it’ll help manage the pain, and then you can get treatment and it’ll be a lot less stressful to the body,” Gronkowski said.
A new agreement must be reached by Mar. 18 in order for the modifications to be reflected in the upcoming season.
Proposed changes to the NFL’s drug policy
- narrows the testing window of THC from four months to two weeks at the start of training camp;
- reduces the penalties to players who test positive for THC, eliminating any game suspensions strictly for positive tests;
- reduces the number of players subjected to testing for THC; and
- increases the nanogram limit from 35 to 150.
Written by David Yasvinski