Leaders of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) are making a proposal that would make the league’s drug policies “less punitive” approach to recreational marijuana use among players.
According to the Washington Post, Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said that if this proposal approved by the board of player representatives of NFLPA, then the proposal will be sent to the NFL. The proposal is to change the way that the league handles recreational marijuana use, and be more “chill” about it.
Right now, the use of marijuana is banned by the NFL and players who are tested positive can be fined and/or suspended.
The NFLPA recently formed a pain management committee who has separately been researching on the use of marijuana as a tool for pain management, and whether using such as a remedy should be permitted. “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.” Smith told the Washington Post. “I do think that issues of addressing it more in a treatment and less punitive measure is appropriate.”
“We have to do a better job of knowing if our players are suffering from other potentially dangerous psychological issues like depression, right?” Smith told the Washington post.“So if I look at this myopically as just a recreational use of marijuana and miss the fact that we might have players suffering from depression, what have I fixed? Worse yet, you may have solved an issue that gets the steady drumbeat in a newspaper but miss an issue like chronic depression . . . where a person theoretically might be able to smoke more weed because it makes them feel better but it’s not curing their depression.
“So to me, as we’re looking at that front end — and it’s been a long process — the reason why I think it’s more complicated than just making a quick decision about recreational use is we look at these things as a macro-issue. And what we try to do is what a union’s supposed to do: improve the health and safety of our players in a business that sometimes can seriously exacerbate existing physical and mental issues.”
A problem that may make the task more difficult is Jeff Sessions, the soon to be Attorney General. Jeff Sessions has spoken out against the use and legalization of marijuana and could decide to enforce a federal ban on marijuana in various states that have already legalized it. This would be bad news as it wouldn’t make the proposal very convincing.
Hopefully, Jeff Sessions doesn’t make such a decision, and the NFL approves this proposal, setting an example to many other sports leagues around the country.