While most of the recent media conversation around cannabis and the Super Bowl surrounded the ability for a medical marijuana company’s attempt to air an advertisement, one of the issues raised by various NORML members over the last few weeks has been more focused on the actual well-being of the players themselves.
In his state-of-the-NFL address the Friday prior to Superbowl LIII, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell remained vague about the NFL’s future policies regarding medical marijuana and drug testing.
When asked about the likelihood of the league changing its policies on the use of medical marijuana, Goodell answered, “We rely on our medical advisors to give us advice. They look at this constantly, they look at the data, they look at the science and they make those recommendations to us on that basis.”
In 2017, Goodell said that he believed marijuana to be both addictive and unhealthy.
The NFL classifies cannabis as a banned substance and imposes extremely harsh fines and suspensions on players who test positive for cannabis.
Prohibited from using cannabis, players are looking to alcohol and opioids for relief. Drug and Alcohol Dependence found in 2011 that over half of surveyed NFL players used opioids during their careers, and a staggering 70% of those users abused the drugs. NFL players are three times more likely to use opioids than the rest of the population.
**A special thanks to Madisen Saglibene, Director of Las Vegas NORML, for raising this issue and helping with the research. You can follow the work of Las Vegas NORML on Facebook and on Twitter and visit their website at http://lvnorml.org/.
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Author: Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director