Despite the fact that recreational marijuana is legal in 10 states–including NFL-populated states California, Michigan, Massachusetts and Washington–and medical marijuana is legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia–the NFL has held fast to its own standards of legality, which is to say that marijuana is part of the league’s Substances of Abuse guidelines, no matter if it’s legal in the state where a player resides and plays.
There have been incremental steps to a more lenient policy in recent times, and a new joint movement between the NFL and the NFLPA could spell the end of the league’s archaic ban. On Monday, the league announced agreements to “protect the health, safety and wellness of NFL players.”
“The NFL and NFLPA will form a Joint Pain Management Committee including medical experts appointed by both the league and union, which will establish uniform standards for club practices and policies regarding pain management and the use of prescription medication by NFL players as well as conduct research concerning pain management and alternative therapies,” the statement said. “The Joint Committee will also receive periodic reports from a newly-developed Prescription Drug Monitoring Program that will monitor all prescriptions issued to NFL players by club physicians and unaffiliated physicians. Prior to the start of the 2019 NFL Season, each NFL club must appoint a Pain Management Specialist who possesses certain agreed-upon credentials, including active engagement in pain management as part of his or her medical practice.”
In addition, the league will form a “Comprehensive Mental Health and Wellness Committee, which will develop educational programs for players, coaches, club personnel and players’ family members regarding mental health and wellness. [Read More @ TouchdownWire/USA Today]