Cannabis Reform In The NFL Is A Big Deal
Professional sports play a big role in society all over the globe. That is a fact that is being contemplated a lot right now with the temporary closing of many international pro sports leagues. It is estimated that there are over 4 billion association football (soccer) fans around the world. That’s one sport. People watch sports, play sports, and eat and breathe all things sports.
American football is the most popular sport in North America, and until recently, the National Football League (NFL) had one of the harshest cannabis policies in professional sports. Players were not tested as often as the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the testing THC threshold was not as low compared to the NBA, however, punishments in the NFL for testing positive for THC were very harsh, with some players essentially having their careers ended because of cannabis testing violations.
From the sole perspective of cannabis testing, the collective bargaining agreement that was recently signed by both NFL owners and the player’s association was a tremendous upgrade. Moving forward, the NFL will no longer suspend players for failing drug tests due to cannabis use. The THC threshold will go from 35 ng/mL up to 150 ng/mL, which is the same standard that Olympic athletes are held to.
The move by the NFL comes after Major League Baseball removed cannabis from its banned substances list entirely. The National Hockey League was ahead of all of the North American major sports leagues and hasn’t listed cannabis on its list of banned substances for a long time. All eyes are on the NBA now, which has the worst cannabis policy out of every major sports league in North America. NBA players are tested randomly 4 times a season, and the THC threshold is a mere 15 ng/mL.
Cannabis reform in the most popular sports league on a continent is a big deal. Cannabis policy in the NFL still needs to be improved, however, from a greater-society perspective, it’s a tremendous victory and boost to the overall cannabis movement.
Consider how many NFL fans, many of which may not know anything about cannabis, recently came across positive news coverage about cannabis in the NFL and see cannabis in a new (positive) way. Presumably many of them became educated about how ridiculous cannabis prohibition is in professional sports, and hopefully, some of that line of thinking will carry over into their views on cannabis policy in society and industry.
With so many NFL fans out there, reform in the league has the potential to change literally millions of people’s perspectives about the cannabis plant, right in time for election season, and that’s a fantastic thing.