The NFL recently made an interesting revision to their Drug test policy when it comes to Marijuana. The league has raised the acceptable limit of nanograms of carboxy THC in a player's drug screen to 35. The new limit is 20 nanograms higher than the former limit. Nanograms represent a part per billion, a small unit.
Unfortunately, for those players who choose to treat their ailments with medical cannabis, 35 nanograms is still a very small amount. Still, any progress—big or small is a win for fair drug policies. Fortunately for those players, the NFL still remains rather relaxed on their drug testing policies. According to the USA Today, “NFL players are tested once a year — for marijuana, opiates, amphetamines and other illegal drugs — between April 20 and Aug. 9.” However, that may change soon.
High Times recently shared an article about a DEA drug bust that gained national attention. November 16th, the DEA targeted the doctors of two NFL teams: the San Francisco 49ers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They were pulled off of their flights and their luggage was searched.
The bust was inspired by the class-action lawsuit that was filed against the NFL by 1,300 former athletes this year. The players claimed that they were given addictive narcotics at illegal dosages, sleeping pills like Ambien, and non-addictive narcotics that allowed them to play through an injury. The players were mostly upset that they were not educated about the drugs they were being given. In light of the recent marijuana reform going on in America, the time is now for the NFL to take a serious look at marijuana as a legitimate alternative to these harmful narcotics.
No one is recommending that these men be high while they are on the job. They are million-dollar professionals working within a billion dollar industry. They have a lot of liability and are expected to perform as top-notch athletes in every game. Being under the influence of Marijuana during games, meetings, practices, appearances, etc. should never be allowed. However, NFL athletes, along with all other professional athletes, put their bodies at risk every day. Should they not be entitled to the right to choose their own medication when they are off the clock?
The NFL is just one of many companies struggling to come to terms with the new age of legal marijuana. The organization is considered a leader and an innovator in the sports industry. They boast the largest fan base as well as the highest profits in American sports. The story in High Times magazine highlights that the NFL's drug testing policies have a long way to go in comparison to other professional sports leagues.
According to the article, the MLB has a 50-nanogram limit while the International Olympic Committee sets the limit at 150-nanograms.
The organization could also benefit from a drug policy change that made a difference. Their public relations department is juggling a lot of big issues right now: domestic violence, concussions causing long-term brain damage, prescription pill abuse-- just to name a few. The research is still limited, but marijuana is said to decrease violence, prevent/repair brain damage, and is a great alternative painkiller to hard prescription drugs. If the NFL were to change the drug policy today to include marijuana as an acceptable form of treatment, they would be held in esteem as the most progressive sports organization ever. It would be such a historic step in the right direction, it may end up doing more for the movement than legalization itself. Other billion dollar companies, athletic or not, would be forced to reconsider their own policies. It could be the straw that broke prohibitions back.
If your employees show up on time, are attentive, show leadership, and are hard working why does it matter if they test positive for marijuana? It is not a proven performance enhancing drug. It does not give the player an athletic advantage over another player. Currently, most company drug policies do not account for the responsible, functional pot smokers in their offices. The workforce is fearful of having a stoned workplace. What are the realities of this concern? Do you think that most companies should reevaluate their drug testing policies?
Posted on 12/14/2014 at 5:00:00 PM