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NFL & MJ: UPDATE Godell says NFL would consider med. marij. (1 Viewer)

Wilfredo Ledezma

Footballguy
http://www.hightimes.com/read/sports-expert-says-time-has-come-nfl-accept-marijuana

A member of the sports community believes that with marijuana being legalized in a growing number of states, while gaining unprecedented public acceptance throughout the entire nation, that perhaps the time has come for the NFL to reconsider its ban on cannabis.

In a recent article published in ESPN magazine, senior writer Howard Bryant writes that the only way to truly appreciate the game of football is to witness the aftermath: players wrapped in blood and dirt disguised as athletic tape; showing up the next day for practice in an understated condition of battered and bruised.

“Pain is the singular constant of the NFL,” writes Bryant. “Maintenance of that pain is as vital to players as mastering the read-option; whether through cortisone, painkillers or drugs and alcohol, they have always self-medicated to heal from the game that breaks their bodies.”

However, NFL officials seem to be perfectly content with athletes risking addiction and death in the grips of hard liquor and prescription medication. Reports indicate that the league has no immediate plans to put the medical marijuana debate on the table, and “no player in the league has received an exemption to use pot for medicinal purposes.”

“So marijuana appears destined to join Sudafed in the gray area of sports: a legal substance that athletes are banned from using,” writes Bryant. “It doesn't have to be this way.”

Unfortunately, while it appears that the NFL has the opportunity to be a forerunner in the discussion of medical marijuana as pain management in sports, there is simply too much corporate politics surrounding the issue for the organization to give weed an honest day in court.

In the article, Bryant suggests that regardless if the issue involves the military, a construction worker, or someone that earns a living taking brutal hits for the Indianapolis Colts, the real concern is vastly superior to popular culture or politics -- it’s about pain.

“Marijuana is a legitimate pain reliever -- and is far less dangerous and potentially addictive than, say, OxyContin,” he writes. “It is almost immoral to deny players the right to use it.”

Bryant poignantly closes his article by arguing that the league has a responsibility to the well-being of the players battling out on the field. “If the NFL is serious about making the game both safer and better to play, it should be a leader on a difficult topic, to contribute to an honest dialogue and, more important, to make life a little more comfortable for its broken warriors.”

Mike Adams writes for Playboy's The Smoking Jacket, BroBible and Hustler Magazine. Follow him: @adamssoup; facebook.com/mikeadams73.

 
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Side bonus: No more Substance Abuse suspensions of your players for weed! I wonder what the NFL would do MJ was legal. Hopefully they wouldn't treat it like Sudafed. Anyone know if Goddell smokes? :D

 
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Makes perfect sense but nothing will change. They'll just continue to stuff them with pills instead.

 
One of the issues that might come up is that it's legal in a few states, available by prescription in more states, yet still illegal in most states.

Would you say a player in Seattle or Denver could smoke without a 'script, but a 'script is required for San Fran and Detroit, but players in Jax and Tampa can't smoke at all?

If you can't make the rules the same across the board, I think you'll have a tough hill to climb.

That said, I'm all for it if you can allow all players to do it.

 
One of the issues that might come up is that it's legal in a few states, available by prescription in more states, yet still illegal in most states.

Would you say a player in Seattle or Denver could smoke without a 'script, but a 'script is required for San Fran and Detroit, but players in Jax and Tampa can't smoke at all?

If you can't make the rules the same across the board, I think you'll have a tough hill to climb.

That said, I'm all for it if you can allow all players to do it.
Too many problems with who was doing it legally in their state and who wasn't, at least until the Federal government decriminalizes it.

 
I've never understood why a professional athlete would be suspended for taking recreational drugs. Who gives a ####? He catches footballs for a living! It's one thing if he's busted by the police but it's quite another to fail a piss test because he was toking up while playing call of duty.

 
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One of the issues that might come up is that it's legal in a few states, available by prescription in more states, yet still illegal in most states.

Would you say a player in Seattle or Denver could smoke without a 'script, but a 'script is required for San Fran and Detroit, but players in Jax and Tampa can't smoke at all?

If you can't make the rules the same across the board, I think you'll have a tough hill to climb.

That said, I'm all for it if you can allow all players to do it.
There are lots of other instances where states have different laws, and the NFL gets by just fine. Really, there's no need for the NFL to have a marijuana policy at all. They could just as easily roll it under the "don't break any laws" section of the personal conduct policy.

 
For those that might not realize- Weed is still illegal on a federal level even though it's legal in some states.

 
For those that might not realize- Weed is still illegal on a federal level even though it's legal in some states.
I think most people know that. But what are the odds the feds are going to start busting/prosecuting/putting in to federal prisons, citizens for smoke pot?

 
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For those that might not realize- Weed is still illegal on a federal level even though it's legal in some states.
I think most people know that. But what are the odds the feds are going to start busting/prosecuting/putting in to federal prisons, citizens for smoke pot?
Slim to none. I mention it because in my industry we have to follow federal regulations so even though weed is legal in my state we can't do business with or even associate with businesses that deal with weed. The NFL might be subject to certain regulations as a nonprofit so they might not even be able to advocate the use of weed.
 
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For those that might not realize- Weed is still illegal on a federal level even though it's legal in some states.
I think most people know that. But what are the odds the feds are going to start busting/prosecuting/putting in to federal prisons, citizens for smoke pot?
http://www.nationalmemo.com/marijuana-arrests-now-exceed-arrests-for-violent-crime/

n 2011, arrests for marijuana exceeded arrests for violent crime by more than 100,000, according to a report from the FBI.

 
One of the issues that might come up is that it's legal in a few states, available by prescription in more states, yet still illegal in most states.

Would you say a player in Seattle or Denver could smoke without a 'script, but a 'script is required for San Fran and Detroit, but players in Jax and Tampa can't smoke at all?

If you can't make the rules the same across the board, I think you'll have a tough hill to climb.

That said, I'm all for it if you can allow all players to do it.
There are lots of other instances where states have different laws, and the NFL gets by just fine. Really, there's no need for the NFL to have a marijuana policy at all. They could just as easily roll it under the "don't break any laws" section of the personal conduct policy.
Here is your answer.

 
For those that might not realize- Weed is still illegal on a federal level even though it's legal in some states.
I think most people know that. But what are the odds the feds are going to start busting/prosecuting/putting in to federal prisons, citizens for smoke pot?
http://www.nationalmemo.com/marijuana-arrests-now-exceed-arrests-for-violent-crime/

n 2011, arrests for marijuana exceeded arrests for violent crime by more than 100,000, according to a report from the FBI.
Criminalization of marijuana use is one of the worst things about this "free" country of ours.

That being said federal laws need have no bearing on what the NFL could opt to do. It's not in their power to allow marijuana use in places it's not legal so it's a moot point to me. What the NFL can choose to do is not test or suspend players for it but than I don't put a lot of that blame on the NFL either. In a practical sense even if you love you some marijuana and even if you can point to multiple professionals who smoke pot and do their jobs just fine, if you can could put yourself in the position of the NFL I'm sure you'd see if from their angle. I think in just about every line of work if you are are going to guarantee your employees millions of dollars a year you'd probably feel a lot better about that investment if the employee was not getting high constantly.

If an NFL player is not happy with marijuana testing they should lay the blame at the feet of their union. If I'm not mistaken they had the power to negotiate what players could be tested for and despite claims of high marijuana use by a lot of NFL players they chose to not try and negotiate that off the list.

 
In the offseason (or even during the season), I would much prefer my players to be smoking weed from a vaporizer instead of drinking and doing all the ridiculously dumb things that alcohols and macho idiots tend to do.

Much more beneficial as far as personal conduct, and much healthier for your body than alcohol. Not to mention if the effects for pain are enough to keep any of them from using pain killers, even better.

Also, the NFL doesn't have to care at all what the law is. They simply can choose whether or not to test for it. If the players get in trouble for using/selling weed or whatever, there will be legal ramifications, in which case the NFL can discipline them as they see fit.

 
jah77 said:
For those that might not realize- Weed is still illegal on a federal level even though it's legal in some states.
I think most people know that. But what are the odds the feds are going to start busting/prosecuting/putting in to federal prisons, citizens for smoke pot?
http://www.nationalmemo.com/marijuana-arrests-now-exceed-arrests-for-violent-crime/

n 2011, arrests for marijuana exceeded arrests for violent crime by more than 100,000, according to a report from the FBI.
Good to see our government has its priorities straight.
Potheads don't run away.............easy to catch.

Maybe they like the money it generates, but they could also like the money they would get in taxes by selling it.

 
The league doesn't really care if the players use pot. The league just wants the leverage of having the prohibition in the labor contract. It likes having a club to wave around and keep the players in line.

 
One of the issues that might come up is that it's legal in a few states, available by prescription in more states, yet still illegal in most states.

Would you say a player in Seattle or Denver could smoke without a 'script, but a 'script is required for San Fran and Detroit, but players in Jax and Tampa can't smoke at all?

If you can't make the rules the same across the board, I think you'll have a tough hill to climb.

That said, I'm all for it if you can allow all players to do it.
There are lots of other instances where states have different laws, and the NFL gets by just fine. Really, there's no need for the NFL to have a marijuana policy at all. They could just as easily roll it under the "don't break any laws" section of the personal conduct policy.
Here is your answer.
Except that the policy then would be unfair to players who lived in most states where it is still illegal.

 
One of the issues that might come up is that it's legal in a few states, available by prescription in more states, yet still illegal in most states.

Would you say a player in Seattle or Denver could smoke without a 'script, but a 'script is required for San Fran and Detroit, but players in Jax and Tampa can't smoke at all?

If you can't make the rules the same across the board, I think you'll have a tough hill to climb.

That said, I'm all for it if you can allow all players to do it.
There are lots of other instances where states have different laws, and the NFL gets by just fine. Really, there's no need for the NFL to have a marijuana policy at all. They could just as easily roll it under the "don't break any laws" section of the personal conduct policy.
Here is your answer.
Except that the policy then would be unfair to players who lived in most states where it is still illegal.
Huh? How's that different than every other job ever? I worked for a company that had offices in both Colorado and Texas, and Texas doesn't have a state income tax but Colorado does, so that was unfair for everyone at the Colorado branch of my company that had to pay state income taxes while I didn't. We did the exact same job, but I took home more pay because I paid less in taxes. Also, it's unfair that McDonald's employees in Portland make more money than McDonald's employees in Mississippi, but you don't see McDonald's raising its minimum wage across the country to match the minimum wage they pay in Oregon. And it's unfair that a gay player who got drafted by the Chargers could get married while a gay player who got drafted by the Cowboys could not. And let's not even consider what would happen if the NFL actually gets franchises in Mexico and London. You think laws vary between states, wait until you see how they vary between nations.

Different states have different laws. Any time a company has branches in different locations, its employees will be subject to different laws. The NFL is not unique in that regard. It's not the company's job to introduce additional rules and regulation to even everything out.

 
One of the issues that might come up is that it's legal in a few states, available by prescription in more states, yet still illegal in most states.

Would you say a player in Seattle or Denver could smoke without a 'script, but a 'script is required for San Fran and Detroit, but players in Jax and Tampa can't smoke at all?

If you can't make the rules the same across the board, I think you'll have a tough hill to climb.

That said, I'm all for it if you can allow all players to do it.
There are lots of other instances where states have different laws, and the NFL gets by just fine. Really, there's no need for the NFL to have a marijuana policy at all. They could just as easily roll it under the "don't break any laws" section of the personal conduct policy.
Here is your answer.
Except that the policy then would be unfair to players who lived in most states where it is still illegal.
Huh? How's that different than every other job ever? I worked for a company that had offices in both Colorado and Texas, and Texas doesn't have a state income tax but Colorado does, so that was unfair for everyone at the Colorado branch of my company that had to pay state income taxes while I didn't. We did the exact same job, but I took home more pay because I paid less in taxes. Also, it's unfair that McDonald's employees in Portland make more money than McDonald's employees in Mississippi, but you don't see McDonald's raising its minimum wage across the country to match the minimum wage they pay in Oregon. And it's unfair that a gay player who got drafted by the Chargers could get married while a gay player who got drafted by the Cowboys could not. And let's not even consider what would happen if the NFL actually gets franchises in Mexico and London. You think laws vary between states, wait until you see how they vary between nations.

Different states have different laws. Any time a company has branches in different locations, its employees will be subject to different laws. The NFL is not unique in that regard. It's not the company's job to introduce additional rules and regulation to even everything out.
I was about to post something similar. I'm not certain I see a point to the unfair argument.

 
The league doesn't really care if the players use pot. The league just wants the leverage of having the prohibition in the labor contract. It likes having a club to wave around and keep the players in line.
I agree with this as well. I've had discussions with a few lawyers with connections to NFL players who have made arguments along these lines. I've played devil's advocate to poke holes in their arguments but they are pretty sound. The NFL doesn't really care, but it is nice to have something so trivial to hang over player's heads and use as leverage when bargaining.

 
One of the issues that might come up is that it's legal in a few states, available by prescription in more states, yet still illegal in most states.

Would you say a player in Seattle or Denver could smoke without a 'script, but a 'script is required for San Fran and Detroit, but players in Jax and Tampa can't smoke at all?

If you can't make the rules the same across the board, I think you'll have a tough hill to climb.

That said, I'm all for it if you can allow all players to do it.
There are lots of other instances where states have different laws, and the NFL gets by just fine. Really, there's no need for the NFL to have a marijuana policy at all. They could just as easily roll it under the "don't break any laws" section of the personal conduct policy.
Here is your answer.
Except that the policy then would be unfair to players who lived in most states where it is still illegal.
Huh? How's that different than every other job ever? I worked for a company that had offices in both Colorado and Texas, and Texas doesn't have a state income tax but Colorado does, so that was unfair for everyone at the Colorado branch of my company that had to pay state income taxes while I didn't. We did the exact same job, but I took home more pay because I paid less in taxes. Also, it's unfair that McDonald's employees in Portland make more money than McDonald's employees in Mississippi, but you don't see McDonald's raising its minimum wage across the country to match the minimum wage they pay in Oregon. And it's unfair that a gay player who got drafted by the Chargers could get married while a gay player who got drafted by the Cowboys could not. And let's not even consider what would happen if the NFL actually gets franchises in Mexico and London. You think laws vary between states, wait until you see how they vary between nations.

Different states have different laws. Any time a company has branches in different locations, its employees will be subject to different laws. The NFL is not unique in that regard. It's not the company's job to introduce additional rules and regulation to even everything out.
I was about to post something similar. I'm not certain I see a point to the unfair argument.
I'm certainly not trying to make the argument, but you could probably say that it is still a collectively bargained contract, so everything in it should apply "fairly" (hate that word) across the board. There are certainly examples where employees' union contracts have cost-of-living adjustments built into the salary structure to put everyone on a level playing field, like in your Colorado/Texas co-worker example.

As an aside, I wonder if this ever gets steam from the NFL, if Goodell ends up getting a call from someone of significant importance within the government to squash it. They would probably hate the optics of such a large entity, which such a far-reaching impact on so many citizens, taking their own steps to effectively decriminalize weed.

 
Just stop actively looking for it makes sense to me. It has zero impact on the game. Is the NFL rifling through their tax returns too?

 
One of the issues that might come up is that it's legal in a few states, available by prescription in more states, yet still illegal in most states.

Would you say a player in Seattle or Denver could smoke without a 'script, but a 'script is required for San Fran and Detroit, but players in Jax and Tampa can't smoke at all?

If you can't make the rules the same across the board, I think you'll have a tough hill to climb.

That said, I'm all for it if you can allow all players to do it.
There are lots of other instances where states have different laws, and the NFL gets by just fine. Really, there's no need for the NFL to have a marijuana policy at all. They could just as easily roll it under the "don't break any laws" section of the personal conduct policy.
Here is your answer.
Except that the policy then would be unfair to players who lived in most states where it is still illegal.
Huh? How's that different than every other job ever? I worked for a company that had offices in both Colorado and Texas, and Texas doesn't have a state income tax but Colorado does, so that was unfair for everyone at the Colorado branch of my company that had to pay state income taxes while I didn't. We did the exact same job, but I took home more pay because I paid less in taxes. Also, it's unfair that McDonald's employees in Portland make more money than McDonald's employees in Mississippi, but you don't see McDonald's raising its minimum wage across the country to match the minimum wage they pay in Oregon. And it's unfair that a gay player who got drafted by the Chargers could get married while a gay player who got drafted by the Cowboys could not. And let's not even consider what would happen if the NFL actually gets franchises in Mexico and London. You think laws vary between states, wait until you see how they vary between nations.

Different states have different laws. Any time a company has branches in different locations, its employees will be subject to different laws. The NFL is not unique in that regard. It's not the company's job to introduce additional rules and regulation to even everything out.
I was about to post something similar. I'm not certain I see a point to the unfair argument.
I'm certainly not trying to make the argument, but you could probably say that it is still a collectively bargained contract, so everything in it should apply "fairly" (hate that word) across the board. There are certainly examples where employees' union contracts have cost-of-living adjustments built into the salary structure to put everyone on a level playing field, like in your Colorado/Texas co-worker example.

As an aside, I wonder if this ever gets steam from the NFL, if Goodell ends up getting a call from someone of significant importance within the government to squash it. They would probably hate the optics of such a large entity, which such a far-reaching impact on so many citizens, taking their own steps to effectively decriminalize weed.
I think it is more than "fair" for the league to take the position that they will no longer test for it, but reserve the right to punish players who are busted for it and violate the NFL personal conduct policy. I don't think it could get more "fair".

Look at it this way; think of all the people you've known in your life who have smoked pot. Now consider how many of them have been busted for possession. I'm willing to bet a fair amount of money there is a large discrepancy between those numbers.

To your second point, I think that would be unlikely of the current administration, given Attorney General Holder's stance on individual users and opposition to mandatory minimums. The focus on the federal level has shifted significantly.

 
The NFL should let its players smoke pot - The Washington Post


Steve Fox, a co-author of “Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?,” is of counsel at Vicente Sederberg, a marijuana-industry law firm in Denver.

It’s been a big year for NFL fans in Denver and Seattle. On the field, the Broncos and the Seahawks had dominant regular seasons and cruised into the playoffs. Off the field, ballot initiatives that passed in 2012 went into effect, making it legal for adults in Colorado andWashington to possess and consume marijuana. So fans in those states now have the option of grabbing a Bud Light (proud sponsor of the NFL) or lighting a bud while watching a game at home.
NFL players, however, do not enjoy the same freedom. Instead, they are subject todrug testing — not just for performance-enhancing substances but for “substances of abuse,” including marijuana. Those screenings tend to be sporadic but can become far more frequent after an initial positive test. Testing positive just once can get a player suspended, without pay, for four games. By comparison, the National Hockey League tests only for performance-enhancing drugs. And while Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association do test for marijuana, their penalties are much less harsh.

The Broncos and the Seahawks have each lost key players this season to marijuana-related suspensions. Denver’s Von Miller, the 2011 NFL defensive rookie of the year, missed the first six games for allegedlyfailing drug tests and failing to comply with league drug testing . (Miller is now out for the season with a knee injury.) And the Seahawks lost starting cornerback Walter Thurmond for four games during the latter part of the season, reportedly for testing positive for marijuana. Less than a month later, the league suspended Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner indefinitely for failing a drug test. Again, it was believed that marijuana was the culprit.

These are just a few of the many marijuana-related suspensions handed down by the NFL over the past decade. Most famously, Heisman Trophy-winning running back Ricky Williams retired from the league in 2004 when faced with a suspension for repeated marijuana use. Just two seasons earlier, he led the NFL in rushing, and in the 2002 and 2003 seasons combined, he gained more than 3,000 yards. Williams returned to the NFL in 2005, served a full-year suspension after another violation in 2006 and finallyretired from football in 2012.

Such suspensions unfairly deny the league and its fans of talented players who are not hurting anyone and are not cheating: Marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug. There is no reason to punish players for using it in their free time.

What makes these suspensions all the more unjust is that marijuana use seems to be pretty common in the NFL. Lomas Brown, a former Detroit Lion and longtime ESPN analyst, estimated in 2012 that at least 50 percent of players use marijuana, a share he said was down from about 90 percent when he entered the league in 1985. Former Seahawk John Moffitt recently echoed Brown’s estimate of at least half, adding: “If you’re an athlete and you’re drinking [alcohol], you’re deteriorating your body far more than if you’re an athlete and you’re using marijuana.”

Sure, unlike alcohol, marijuana is illegal, at least federally. And those opposing it may think that if someone is dumb enough to use an illegal drug, in violation of his employer’s policy, he deserves whatever punishment he gets.

But consider a far more serious issue: chronic pain. While some players might use marijuana simply to unwind — just as other players might have a beer or two — many of them also use it for the pain they are subjected to as warriors in a brutal game.

Former Broncos tight end Nate Jackson recently discussed this with the Denver Post: NFL players “live in a great deal of pain on a daily basis, and marijuana helps with that. . . .Teams pass out opioid painkillers, which are highly addictive,” Jackson noted. “And that can affect a player long after they are done playing. Marijuana doesn’t have those types of effects.”

Howard Bryant, senior writer for ESPN the Magazine, made an even stronger appeal last month to the league to reconsider its policies: “Given that marijuana is a legitimate pain reliever — especially for the migraines that can be a byproduct of head trauma — and is far less dangerous and potentially addictive than, say, OxyContin, it is almost immoral to deny players the right to use it.”

Bryant’s mention of head trauma is significant. In light of the lawsuits that former players who’ve suffered concussions have brought against the NFL, the league should be especially interested in marijuana’s potential to diminish the long-term effects of brain injuries.

As it turns out, recent studies are starting to contradict the notion that marijuana kills brain cells. Last year, researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel gave low doses of THC, one of marijuana’s primary cannabinoids, to mice either before or after exposing them to brain trauma. They found that THC produced heightened amounts of chemicals in the brain that actually protected cells. Weeks later, the mice performed better on learning and memory tests, compared with a control group. The researchers concluded that THC could prevent long-term damage associated with brain injuries. Though preliminary, this is just one ofmany promising studies exploring marijuana’s benefits for the brain.

So, are diminishing pain and potentially protecting brain cells enough to convince the NFL that players should be allowed to use marijuana? Not necessarily. For some, the same old refrain — “What about the children?” — still reigns. For example, former Broncos tight endShannon Sharpe says the league’s policy will never change “because of the way kids follow what NFL players do.”

Sorry, Mr. Sharpe, but kids who idolize NFL players are already bombarded by beer ads, the contracts for which enrich team owners and, by extension, players. And alcohol is objectively more harmful than marijuana in terms of its damage to the body, its addictiveness and its association with violent behavior. If players use marijuana out of the public spotlight to alleviate their pain or to simply help them relax or sleep during a stressful season, society won’t crumble.

The NFL’s current 10-year collective-bargaining agreement was adopted in 2011, so changing its marijuana policy would take some maneuvering. That said, opportunities do exist. For example, it was reported last summer that the league wanted to work with players to increase penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol. Stronger penalties for DUIs in exchange for more lenient policies for marijuana use seems like a fair trade-off for all sides.

Not acting will only delay the inevitable. During the span of the current collective-bargaining agreement, it is likely that many more states will make marijuana legal. Instead of waiting, the NFL should address the issue now so that players can derive the benefits of the substance — or simply use it as an alternative to alcohol — sooner rather than later.

steve@vicentesederberg.co
m


 
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Just stop actively looking for it makes sense to me. It has zero impact on the game. Is the NFL rifling through their tax returns too?
from post

NFL players, however, do not enjoy the same freedom. Instead, they are subject todrug testing — not just for performance-enhancing substances but for “substances of abuse,” including marijuana. Those screenings tend to be sporadic but can become far more frequent after an initial positive test. Testing positive just once can get a player suspended, without pay, for four games. By comparison, the National Hockey League tests only for performance-enhancing drugs. And while Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association do test for marijuana, their penalties are much less harsh.
 
One of the issues that might come up is that it's legal in a few states, available by prescription in more states, yet still illegal in most states.

Would you say a player in Seattle or Denver could smoke without a 'script, but a 'script is required for San Fran and Detroit, but players in Jax and Tampa can't smoke at all?

If you can't make the rules the same across the board, I think you'll have a tough hill to climb.

That said, I'm all for it if you can allow all players to do it.
It's a good thing the NFL only cares about the law and what's good for the game. Thankfully they've been testing for HGH for years now because they always follow the law.

PS-It's completely irrelevant if pot is illegal or not. Despite the way Goodell acts these days, it's not the NFL's job to police national policy and punish players. They can choose not to test for it, pretty simple. IMO, they should be testing for performance enhancing drugs and leave the rest alone.

 
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http://www.nationalmemo.com/marijuana-arrests-now-exceed-arrests-for-violent-crime/

n 2011, arrests for marijuana exceeded arrests for violent crime by more than 100,000, according to a report from the FBI.
My guess would be the incident rate for illegal possession of marijuana compared to violent crime exceeds 100,000. I would also have to think it would be easier to prosecute, therefore making it more worthwhile to pursue the arrest. Additionally, when looking at statistics in the tens of millions, a difference of 100,000 is only about a single percentage point.

 
Good For Godell. I found the italicized portion pretty interesting in general in re: concussions etc.

Goodell: NFL would consider allowing medical marijuana

NEW YORK – Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday the NFL would consider allowing athletes to use marijuana to treat concussions and other head injuries if medical experts deemed it a legitimate solution.

Appearing with General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt to announce the first 16 winners of the $20 million "Head Health Challenge," sponsored by GE and the league, Goodell didn't sway from his recent statements on use of the drug by active players.

"I'm not a medical expert. We will obviously follow signs. We will follow medicine and if they determine this could be a proper usage in any context, we will consider that," Goodell said. "Our medical experts are not saying that right now."

Both Colorado and Washington -- home states of the Super Bowl teams, the Seahawks and Broncos -- are the only states where the drug is legal for recreational use. Twenty more, plus Washington D.C., allow for medicinal marijuana use. A report on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" Tuesday estimated that between 50%-60% of the league's players regularly use the drug, many for pain management. The show also interviewed an Israeli doctor who showed how treating mice with head trauma with marijuana showed drastic improvement in their symptoms.

While the league is not willing to reconsider its stance on that potential treatment, they are showcasing a number of potential innovations in diagnosis of head injuries. More than 400 applicants in 27 countries applied for $300,000 awards in the Head Health Challenge, which ended up going to researchers at a mix of 16 private companies and universities.

Representatives from three of the awardees were in attendance at the league offices to discuss their projects.

BrainScope Company, based in Bethesda, Md., is working with Purdue University's Neurotrauma Group to enhance its handheld traumatic brain injury detection technology. The tool, which would fit over a player's head and could be used on a sideline, would provide a more specialized assessment of any possible brain injury suffered on the field.

BrainScope's device is currently under development for trial use only, meaning that it would need to get FDA approval before it could be used in a practical setting. The potential for that future prospect with BrainScope as well as the evolution of blood tests, new brain imaging techniques and other groundbreaking studies has the commissioner feeling positive about the next frontier in combating the league's concussion crisis.

"Not only are we going to get better at diagnosis, but we're going to make a difference in the prognosis and the treatment," Goodell said. "People are going to get better."

 
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Marijuana is a legitimate pain reliever -- and is far less dangerous and potentially addictive than, say, OxyContin,” he writes. “It is almost immoral to deny players the right to use it.”

Except you need a chimney sweep to clean your lungs out after frequent use.

 
Medical MJ comes in pill form and in digestible form as well.

Marijuana is a legitimate pain reliever -- and is far less dangerous and potentially addictive than, say, OxyContin, he writes. It is almost immoral to deny players the right to use it.

Except you need a chimney sweep to clean your lungs out after frequent use.
 
Marijuana is a legitimate pain reliever -- and is far less dangerous and potentially addictive than, say, OxyContin,” he writes. “It is almost immoral to deny players the right to use it.”

Except you need a chimney sweep to clean your lungs out after frequent use.
I think NFL players can afford a quality vaporizer. Or just pay thier chef too cook MJ in all of their non pregame meals & eat edibles etc.

 
How should the NFL and NFLPA deal withuse increased legalization of marijuana? - NFL - Michael McCann - SI.com

Eleven of the NFL's 32 franchises play home games in states that have legalized marijuana for at least medical purposes, including this year's Super Bowl finalists, the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. And if pending medical marijuana legislation becomes law in Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the number of NFL franchises based in marijuana-legal states would jump from 11 to 17 -- more than half the league. For those who remember the War on Drugs campaign and the "This is Your Brain on Drugs" public service announcement, times have indeed changed.

New studies that identify marijuana's health benefits, combined with the moving testimony of marijuana users to efficiently treat their pain, have transformed attitudes about the drug and favorably distinguished it from other "criminal" substances. Seizing the trend, the Marijuana Policy Project paid for a billboard that was visible during the NFL's season opener in Denver, calling on the NFL to stop punishing players who test positive for marijuana. The league is unlikely to heed this call anytime soon, but advocates for legalizing marijuana took note this week when commissioner Roger Goodell said, "if medical experts ever say medical marijuana would help with concussions then [he] would consider allowing it." And the previous week, he answered a medicinal marijuana question by saying, "I don't know what's going to develop as far as the next opportunity for medicine to evolve and to help either deal with pain or help deal with injuries, but we will continue to support the evolution of medicine."

The evolution of legalization is to the point that 20 states and the District of Columbia have approved marijuana for the treatment of medical conditions or for broader use. Within a few years, this will be true in the majority of states. Legalization, of course, has no legal effect on leagues and players' associations prohibiting their athletes from using the drug. But it does force employers to rethink the logic of banning marijuana, and there are an increasing number of people who feel the NFL could be a major player in that process.

NFL Prohibition on MarijuanaMarijuana's gradual legalization has profound implications for the NFL and its players, many of whom rely on powerful and addictive painkillers. Advocates for the drug maintain that it can help players safely cope with pain and may even help them recover from concussions.

Under current rules, NFL players cannot use marijuana. The drug is expressly prohibited by the drug and substance abuse policy agreed to by the NFL and the NFLPA. This prohibition is not unique as the NBA and MLB and their respective players' associations also ban marijuana. The prohibition is also not surprising because federal law criminalizes marijuana (cannabis) as a Schedule 1 prohibited substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

The NFL, however, is different from those other two leagues in treating a positive test result for marijuana the same as a positive result for drugs more conventionally regarded as dangerous and that carry much harsher penalties under criminal law. An NFL player who tests positive for marijuana is subject to the same penalty scheme as if he tested positive for cocaine or heroin. While a player who tests positive once for these drugs generally receives intervention, with no accompanying fine or suspension, a second-time positive test can lead to a dramatically different punishment: up to a four-game unpaid suspension -- a quarter of a season -- or longer if he's a repeat offender. Retired running back Ricky Williams received several suspensions in his NFL career for marijuana-related offenses. In 2011, Broncos linebacker Von Miller tested positive for cannabis. Last September, he received a six-game suspension, which cost him $806,162 in salary. MLB and the NBA, in contrast, impose much lighter penalties on players who test positive for marijuana than they impose on players who test positive for other drugs.

The Developing Legality of MarijuanaThough a near majority of states have legalized marijuana, federal law still outlaws it as a Schedule 1 substance, the same classification for LSD and heroin. Under federal law, marijuana is considered to have a "high potential for abuse" and "lack of accepted medical use."

The NFL -- the beneficiary of a six-year sponsorship deal with Anheuser-Busch worth more than $1 billion -- is especially sensitive to public safety concerns. There has been a recent spate of NFL player arrests for drunken driving and some of those arrests have involved marijuana. In September, for instance, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was arrested for suspected driving under the influence and marijuana possession. He reportedly had a blood-alcohol level of nearly twice the limit under California law.There are many public health and health care professionals who insist that the ban is deserved. The Foundation for a Drug Free World, for instance, contends that marijuana increases the risk of lung cancer and other lung problems. The psychoactive effects attributed to marijuana and caused by it containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) also impair cognitive reasoning. These psychoactive effects are a particular concern when those who are "high" drive cars or otherwise endanger the public.

New state laws in Washington and Colorado that permit recreational use of marijuana are in blatant conflict with federal law. But federal law is not etched in stone; it can be amended. There is some support in Congress for amending Schedule 1 to remove cannabis. Even if Schedule 1 remains untouched, the federal government can selectively and permissively enforce it. Along those lines, the Obama administration recently signaled that the federal government will not interfere with states that legalize marijuana, so long as they also promulgate sensible rules for its sale.

Through one means or another, the federal prohibition on marijuana seems to be in its twilight years.

The Merits of the NFL Allowing Marijuana as a Pain KillerHow should the NFL and NFLPA react to a legalization of marijuana?


Marijuana advocates no doubt saw a different meaning in the words displayed as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell took the stage at last year's NFL Draft.
Michael LeBrecht/SI
One of the main reasons for permitting the use of marijuana would be to help NFL players cope with the pain of playing. According to Clint Werner, author of Marijuana Gateway to Health: How Cannabis Protects Us from Cancer and Alzheimer's Disease, marijuana is a safer and more effective substance for treating pain than many "legal" drugs. This is particularly true when inhaled through a vaporizer or sprayed under the tongue, methods that purportedly reduce the harmful and psychoactive effects associated with smoking pot. Werner goes so far as to claim that science will make heroes out of pro athletes ridiculed for marijuana use.

"Ricky Williams will be redeemed," Werner tells SI.com. "We didn't know the science of marijuana when he claimed it had healing benefits, but the science now confirms what he said. It wouldn't surprise me if he is to players' health what Curt Flood was to players' economic freedom: Both were marginalized because they fought for an unpopular cause that ultimately proved right."

The science Werner speaks of mainly concerns recent clinical studies that confirm that marijuana can significantly reduce pain. One study in the Journal of Pain, for instance, found that marijuana reduces pain associated with the spinal cord, while a study in Neuropsychopharmacology concluded that cannabis alleviates pain of HIV patients. Perhaps more important, side effects and addictive qualities from using marijuana have been found less substantial than those associated with "legal" pain killers, such as morphine or oxycodone. A study published this year by Lancet concluded that more people die each year from abusing pain killers than from abusing marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

Studies reflecting favorably on marijuana do not mean it would be appropriate for NFL players to use it. Dr. Donald Abrams, professor of clinical medicine at the University of California San Francisco and chief of the Hematology-Oncology Division at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, has conducted multiple studies on therapeutic uses of marijuana. He cautions that NFL players using marijuana during games or practices would bring obvious risk of harm to themselves and other players. But in light of the physical pain suffered by playing football, Abrams envisions marijuana as offering potential therapeutic benefits after games and while players rehab injuries. Abrams adds that marijuana is "probably a lot safer than a number of drugs permitted by the NFL" -- Adderall included.

Among players and agents, there is growing support for allowing players to use marijuana. One prominent agent, whose clients include several Pro Bowl players, tells SI.com that permitting marijuana should be viewed in the context of other choices for treatment.

"What is the alternative to marijuana?" he says. "The alternative sucks. Think about what players take for pain -- they take much more serious and much more addictive drugs. Vicodin. Percocet. Oxycodone. These are highly addictive and synthetically manufactured drugs. ... They can rip up your insides. I would much rather my guys take natural, less addictive stuff."

The Merits of the NFL Allowing Marijuana to Reflect Common UseA former NFL general manager agrees that marijuana warrants reconsideration by the league and players' association. He contends that should marijuana become legal, a league policy banning it would be out of step.

"A lot of NFL players play and function at a high level while regularly using pot," he says. "That's the reality of it. They smoked pot in high school and college, just like many of their teammates and classmates."

Players can also easily evade positive marijuana test results, which are drawn from urine samples. "They call it 'the stupid test,' " the former GM says. Common evasion steps include adjusting usage of marijuana in advance of a test, employing masking agents and using someone else's urine for the drug sample. Players without established drug problems are also tested only once a year; if the player tests negative, he can regularly smoke marijuana the rest of the year and it would not be detected by the league.

The relative ease at which players can get away with using marijuana is not lost on them. It's thought that a significant percentage of players regularly smoke pot. Former Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd, who in November was sentenced to 15 years in prison on a drug charge, recently told Sports Illustrated that "at least half" of NFL players smoked marijuana during his time in the league. Most of those alleged users are thought to have obtained their marijuana via the street, black market or friends. Some, as a result, may have purchased tainted and physically hazardous product. Jets tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was charged in December with possession of Fubinaca, a synthetic form of marijuana.

The fact that NFL players' contacts are not guaranteed and they can usually be released with minimal financial obligation is also part of the equation, according to the agent interviewed for this story.

"Some players who smoke too much pot, fall asleep in meetings and they're not as able to grasp comprehensive schemes. I get that," the agent acknowledges. "Well, just replace them. Treat them like players who aren't fast enough or skilled enough or responsible enough: Cut them and move on. The market takes care of itself."

Former NFL linebacker Steve DeOssie, who overcame marijuana and alcohol problems early in his 12-year career, envisions the NFL regulating marijuana much like it regulates alcohol.

"If marijuana became legal, the reference point for the NFL would be alcohol," DeOssie says. "Personal responsibility by players would be key. Players would be responsible to not let it derail their careers."

DeOssie, who has not used marijuana since 1991 and is now an NFL analyst for Comcast SportsNet New England, warns players who believe marijuana is easily compatible with life as an NFL player: "Marijuana did not help my career."

The Speculative Merits of the NFL Allowing Marijuana as a Treatment for ConcussionsIn addition to treating pain, marijuana might offer a speculative but potentially profound benefit to NFL players: a reduction in brain damage caused by concussions. Although human studies have not confirmed such an advantage, Raphael Mechoulam, professor of medicinal chemistry and natural products at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, says there are promising results with mice.

"We have shown in mice that damage due to concussions -- brain trauma -- is considerably lowered by compounds present in the brain," Mechoulam says. "They are called endocannabinoids. Apparently endocannabinoids represent a natural defense against this type of brain damage. ... [THC] mimics the action of endocannabinoids."

Mechoulam cautions that a link between using marijuana and reducing brain trauma is still theoretical and that common sense remains the best treatment for a concussed football player: "He should not continue playing -- he should be in bed."

U.S. District Judge Anita Brody's recent rejection of the proposed $765 million settlement between retired players and the league over longterm neurological problems purportedly caused by playing in the NFL also plays a role in this discussion. Marijuana use by NFL players could attract more attention in the event the league and retired players reach a new proposed settlement that Brody approves. A settlement, like the rejected one, would likely fund medical research on treating and preventing brain injury associated with playing football. If Brody approves a revised proposal, she would likely appoint a settlement administrator to decide how research money is spent.

As the former general manager points out, "It makes sense that some of any settlement money would be used to research if marijuana could help with brain injury." The agent feels similarly: "Concussions are a major threat to the sport. If marijuana could help at all with concussions, it's crazy not to study it."

Minneapolis attorney Shawn Stuckey, a linebacker for the New England Patriots in the late 1990s, cautions about the optics of funding marijuana research.

"If [settlement] money is 'taken away' from youth programs and devoted to 'marijuana research,' it would be a PR disaster for the league," he says.

Still, Stuckey, who practices at Zelle Hofmann and represented retired players in litigation against the NFL during the 2011 lockout, believes players could play a crucial role in demanding marijuana research.

"If research would show that marijuana could potentially alleviate the painful symptoms of brain diseases, I'm sure a certain amount of players would champion use of the concussion money for that purpose," Stuckey says.

The Mechanics of Changing NFL Rules on MarijuanaThe NFL and players' association would negotiate any changes to the league's ban on marijuana.

A modest change would be to reduce the penalty for marijuana offenses to one less than that for other drugs. Other leagues take that approach with marijuana, and given the changing view of the drug, perhaps the NFL and NFLPA should follow. They could adopt an arrangement similar to the one used by the NBA, where players who test positive once or twice for marijuana receive treatment and fines; only upon a third positive test for marijuana does an NBA player face a suspension (five games). In contrast, NBA players who test positive just once for "drugs of abuse" like cocaine and heroin are disqualified for at least two years.

Stuckey contends that a penalty reduction makes sense.

"There is no good reason why the rule shouldn't be changed," he says.

Players who are high are not more prone to criminal conduct before or after games, he's observed, and marijuana clearly does not help play.

"Smoking or ingesting marijuana would be tantamount to taking Benadryl or a sleeping pill before a game," Stuckey says. "As a player, I could have only dreamed of the opposing offensive lineman or running back getting high the day of a game."

A more dramatic change would be to permit NFL players to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. This change would not be made until players in all states could legally use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Should that time come to pass, the NFL and players' association could develop and implement therapeutic use exemption application procedures for marijuana use. The procedures would be comprehensive and would only permit a player to use marijuana when he proves the necessity. Such procedures already exist for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) medication. The league rejects use exemption applications for Adderall and other ADHD medication unless players can convincingly establish a medical need. Players generally need to provide physicians' evaluations, medical tests and treatment plans to be seriously considered.

An even bolder change, and again one requiring clear legalization of marijuana, would be for NFL teams to actively use marijuana vaporizers and sprays to treat players for pain management and even concussion treatment. While the idea sounds far-fetched in 2014, perhaps it won't be five or 10 years from now. And as Goodell said, the NFL "will continue to support the evolution of medicine."

A potential road block to changes to the NFL's marijuana policy is the negotiation process itself.

"Everything that the league and players agree to stems from the give-and-take of negotiations," the former GM says. "Players will ask to use marijuana and the league will want something in return."

Stuckey emphasized that the league will feel pressure from sponsors to go slow.

"It won't matter what the research shows," he says. "Things won't change until public perception -- that is, those who financially support the league -- changes because there's too much money at stake."

DeOssie agrees: "The NFL tends to be slow to react to changes. The league won't address marijuana until it absolutely has to. This will be a long process for the NFL."

Fair enough, marijuana legalization advocates might say. Their drug being the subject of negotiations between the most popular sports league and its players' union would mean it's come a long way from when it was depicted as causing to the human brain what a frying pan does to eggs.

SI.COM FLASHBACK: NFL and NFLPA need to take closer look at possible painkiller abuse

Michael McCann is a Massachusetts attorney and the founding director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. He is also the distinguished visiting Hall of Fame Professor of Law at Mississippi College School of Law.

 

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