As more states legalize marijuana, NFLPA to study potential as a pain-management tool – Washington Post
The increasing legalization of marijuana at the state level could spur change with the NFL’s drug policy. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo)
In the aftermath of a new set of states legalizing marijuana use in the national elections, the NFL Players Association said Wednesday it is forming a committee to actively study the possibility of allowing players to use marijuana as a pain-management tool.
The union is forming an NFL Players’ pain management committee that will study players’ use of marijuana as a pain-management mechanism, among other things, though the union has not yet determined if an adjustment to the sport’s ban on marijuana use is warranted.
“Marijuana is still governed by our collective bargaining agreement,” George Atallah, the NFLPA’s assistant executive director of external affairs, said in a phone interview Wednesday. “And while some states have moved in a more progressive direction, that fact still remains.
“We are actively looking at the issue of pain management of our players. And studying marijuana as a substance under that context is the direction we are focused on.”
A growing push from players within the sport, as well as an ongoing national medical conversation over the benefits of marijuana and the dangers of opiate-based painkillers, has increased scrutiny on the league’s rules that ban the drug. This also comes as voters in California, Nevada and Massachusetts approved recreational marijuana use Tuesday, joining four other states and Washington, D.C., with similar laws. Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota voters legalized medical marijuana use, bringing the total of states with such measures to more than two dozen.
But marijuana use remains prohibited under the drug policy collectively bargained between the NFL and the NFL Players Association, and the two parties would both need to agree to any changes to that policy. Players are tested