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The NFL Says It’s Open to Ditching Their Ban on Marijuana Use

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Many have questioned why the NFL continues to drug test players for marijuana use, particularly in an era when so many of them live in states where it’s legalized. And it appears the league may finally be conceding.

NFL expert Mike Florio says the league is considering ending its ban on players using marijuana. Florio says the NFL realizes there’s no longer any good reason to keep the best football players from playing football over marijuana,” something that fans have been saying for years. 

However, the NFL isn’t going to just drop their marijuana policy out of the goodness of their heart. Florio says the league is hoping to use the issue as a bargaining chip the next time they enter negotiations with the NFL Player’s Association on a new collective bargaining agreement.

But it may not actually be that powerful of a bargaining chip. Florio says the vast majority of players (he says 95 percent) know how to avoid testing positive for marijuana in the first place. And even if they test positive once, the NFL’s policy says they can only be suspended if they test positive again. So players avoid testing positive the first time, and if they slip up, they just avoid getting detected a second time. So the Player’s Association may not be willing to give up a major concession for a marijuana policy that isn’t that hard to get around.

The news about the NFL’s change of heart on marijuana comes a day after wide receiver Josh Gordon announced he was stepping away from the game to focus on his mental health. Gordon has been suspended multiple times by the NFL for using marijuana and other substances, and it came out yesterday that he was going to receive another indefinite suspension for another drug test violation.

You know it’s a bad sign when the NFL, an organization that somehow doesn’t admit football causes concussions, is more progressive with their marijuana policy than the U.S. government.

(h/​t NBC Sports)

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