Fellow Athletes For CARE Ambassadors To Speak At Pittsburgh Event

Professional sports ambassadors from Athletes For CARE, a national not-for-profit organization launching later this spring, will headline a “Sports and Cannabis” panel at the inaugural 2017 World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo (WMCCExpo), April 21-22, 2017, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, 1000 Fort Duquesne Boulevard, in Pittsburgh.

Former National Football League (NFL) players Marvin Washington, Nate Jackson, Eben Britton, and Todd Herremans will lead a comprehensive discussion on medical cannabis in professional sports on Friday, April 21, from 2-3 p.m.

Hosted by Compassionate Certification Centers™ (CCC) and Greenhouse Ventures LLC, medical cannabis meets business innovation at the national physician-led conference.

The WMCCExpo will feature educational seminars, professional training workshops, networking opportunities, and dynamic panels on the industry’s most compelling issues.

For tickets or information, call 1-888-316-9085 or visit http://www.cccregister.com.

Founded by pro athletes, Athletes For CARE is dedicated to raising awareness for important issues facing both professional athletes and the public at large. The newly formed organization advocates for research, education and compassion when addressing these challenges.

“I look forward to attending the 2017 World Medical Cannabis Conference and Expo as a representative of Athletes for CARE.  Events like the WMCCExpo provide a much-needed platform for us to address the many health concerns facing former professional athletes and engage in honest dialogue about holistic and non-toxic solutions,” said Nate Jackson, former NFL player for the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers.

In addition to the “Sports and Cannabis” panel, the WMCCExpo will feature presentations on the potential medical benefits of cannabinoids with experts in the field of science and medicine.

“Many athletes or ex athletes already benefit from Medical Cannabis in its use for treating chronic pain and its symptoms. The use of Medical Cannabis may likely also expand into other areas that directly affect athletes, including concussions and psychiatric disorders such as PTSD, anxiety, or depression,” stated Dr. Bryan Doner co-founder of Compassionate Certification Centers.

Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) are associated with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a dreaded condition of the brain caused by repeated head trauma.

In a recent study conducted by Boston University, CTE was identified in 96% of NFL players and 79% of all football players examined. The topic has made national sports headlines and continues to raise questions about the future of the American sport.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to openly discuss how cannabis has helped me personally, both in my everyday life, as well as throughout the course of my career in the NFL. I look forward to sharing my story with the hopes that it could possibly help others to better understand the cannabis plant and its many uses,” stated former Philadelphia Eagles player Todd Herremans

The WMCCExpo will feature former professional athletes and renowned doctors including:

  • Eben Britton, Athletes For CARE ambassador, Former NFL offensive linesman
  • Todd Herremans, Athletes For CARE ambassador, Former NFL offensive guard
  • Nate Jackson, Athletes For CARE ambassador, Former NFL player and published author of “Slow Getting Up: A Story of – NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile” and “Fantasy Man”
  • Marvin Washington, Athletes For CARE ambassador, NFL Super Bowl Winner & Cannabis Advocate
  • Dr. Cyril Wecht, Forensic Science Consultant who was portrayed by Albert Brooks in the critically acclaimed movie “Concussion”.
  • Ricky Williams, Heisman Trophy Winner and former NFL player

The WMCCExpo will attract upwards of 5,000 attendees, over 170 exhibiting companies, and dozens of medical, investment, and cannabis industry thought leaders. For tickets or information, call 1-888-316-9085 or visit http://www.cccregister.com.

This event press release first appeared here

Survey Finds Overwhelming Support For Cannabis Legalization By Sports Media Members

A strong majority (60%) of the American public supports ending cannabis prohibition according to the most recent poll from Gallup. That is up from 44% in 2009 and and 36% in 2005. Recent polling also shows majority support specifically for ending cannabis prohibition in professional sports leagues. An poll of NFL players found that 71% of players think that medical cannabis should be legal in every state in America.

Support for reform (and the rest of society) is stronger than ever as these poll show. But support for full legalization is even higher (no pun intended) in sports media circles. The Big Lead conducted a survey involving members of sports media, and specifically asked them if they support legalization. Below are the results, via an excerpt from the article from The Big Lead:

The sports media is also more progressive than the general population on marijuana. 76.5 percent of respondents said marijuana should be legal. A Gallup poll pegs national support at 60 percent. Both groups trail TBL readers at 81 percent.

A 76.5% level of support is tremendously significant. It’s further evidence that professional sports leagues need to get on the right side of history. The fans want pro sports leagues to legalize it. Members of sports media want it. The players want it. So why aren’t league officials and team owners listening?

Cannabis has been found to be significantly safer than alcohol and pharmaceuticals, both of which are widely embraced by leagues. Leagues need to realize that cannabis reform is here to stay, and that more and more states are legalizing cannabis, including in states that have professional sports teams located in them. Below are NFL, NBA, and MLB teams located in states (and D.C.) that have voted to legalize cannabis for adult use:

California – Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco Giants, Oakland A’s, Golden State Warriors, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, San Diego Padres, Anaheim Angels

Massachusetts – Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, New England Patriots

Oregon – Portland Trail Blazers

Washington – Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Mariners

Colorado – Denver Nuggets, Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies

Washington D.C. – Washington Redskins, Washington Nationals, Washington Wizards

image via KSHB.com

Demetrius Harris’ Arrest Highlights How Absurd Cannabis Prohibition Is

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Demetrius Harris was arrested this week on suspicion of possessing cannabis. According to media reports Harris was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Cannabis was found in the vehicle and Harris was charged with cannabis possession. Demetrius Harris is now looking at a felony charge in Missouri, which carries a penalty of a $10,000 fine and up to 7 years in prison.

Possession of up to 35 grams of cannabis in Missouri is a misdemeanor. Possession of over 35 grams is a felony offense. Details were not released as far as the specific amount of cannabis that Demetrius Harris was allegedly caught with, but as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) points out, “Possession of more than 35g, but less than 30kg, has often, historically, been charged as intent to distribute.” Harris was not charged with intent to distribute cannabis, which likely indicates that he was very close the threshold between a misdemeanor and a felony. One gram could potentially have been the difference between Demetrius looking at 1 year of incarceration versus 7 years.

Demetrius Harris has been a rising star in the National Football League (NFL). In 2016, he caught a career-high 17 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown (and a two-point conversion) as a tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs. In early 2016 Harris agreed to a three year extension with the Chiefs, and received the following praise from coach Andy Reid at the time:

“He’s a good football player, and he’s going to do nothing but get better. Every year, he’s made improvements, going to continue to do that. Loves to play. Been a good addition.”

Unfortunately now Demetrius Harris’ football career, and personal freedom, is in jeopardy. All because he possessed a plant that is now legal in 8 states (and D.C.) for adult use, and 28 states (and D.C.) for medical use. In Maine, adults over 21 years of age (Harris is 25) can possess up to 70 grams of cannabis and it’s perfectly legal. It’s absurd that Demetrius Harris can get a 7 year prison sentence for possessing roughly 35 grams of cannabis in Missouri, but had he been in Maine, he could have possessed twice as much and faced no penalties whatsoever. How is that fair? Had Demetrius been in Maine instead of Missouri, he would have continued on with his day and there would have been zero media coverage about the matter because it would have been considered to be legal activity.

It is quite possible that Demetrius Harris was in possession of cannabis because he uses cannabis for wellness/medical purposes. If that was the case, Demetrius would have been that much more protected had he simply been located in a different state. For instance in Oregon, where the Uncle Cliffy team is located, medical cannabis patients can legally possess nearly 700 grams of cannabis for medical purposes, in addition to being able to also possess even more cannabis for adult-use purposes. Missouri is not currently a state that permits medical cannabis use, but a campaign is underway to update Missouri’s failed cannabis laws and legalize cannabis for medical use. Sadly, reform will not come quick enough to help Demetrius Harris.

The math speaks for itself and highlights how ridiculous Demetrius Harris’ arrest was. Ohio treats possession of up to 100 grams as an infraction (not a crime), with a $150 fine. That’s nearly three times the possession limit that results in a 7 year prison sentence in Missouri, and in Demetrius Harris’ case, an NFL career that has needlessly been put at risk. Athletes should be judged based off of their athletic abilities and moral character, and not based off of whether they choose to possess a personal amount of a plant that has been found to be 114 times safer than alcohol.

Regardless of how the court case works out, the NFL is likely to hand down a punishment to Demetrius Harris. Harris will now have to carry around the ‘cannabis scarlet letter’ that has needlessly hindered, and in some cases ended, other careers. Despite playing well and being a good teammate, Demetrius will now have to deal with the stigma that comes with an off the field cannabis issue. It shouldn’t be that way. If Demetrius’ only ‘offense’ was possessing a personal amount of cannabis, he should not be punished. Not by the State of Missouri, nor the NFL or the Kansas City Chiefs organization.

When a professional sports league punishes players for off the field cannabis related criminal justice issues, those leagues are perpetuating institutional racism whether they like to admit it or not. All a rational person has to do is look at the math. African Americans like Demetrius Harris are almost 4 times as likely to be arrested for cannabis, even though consumption rates between African Americans and other races are roughly the same. In some parts of Missouri specifically, the racial disparity for cannabis arrests for African Americans is even greater, with African Americans being 18 times as likely to be arrested for cannabis. If an African American NFL player is 18 times as likely to be arrested for cannabis in certain parts of Missouri, they are also 18 times as likely to be punished by the NFL for cannabis compared to their Caucasian colleagues. There’s simply no way around it.

As long as the NFL and other sports leagues support cannabis prohibition, they support and contribute to the needless destruction of athletes’ careers and lives. Cannabis prohibition is a failed, racist policy. A strong majority (60%) of the American public supports ending cannabis prohibition, with recent polling showing majority support specifically for ending cannabis prohibition in professional sports leagues. 71% of NFL players think that medical cannabis should be legal in every state in America, including Missouri where Demetrius Harris was recently arrested. A whopping 76.5% of sports media members support ending cannabis prohibition. It’s beyond time that professional sports leagues (and the State of Missouri) got on the right side of history and listened to the will of the people.

image via Arrow Head Pride

Will Donald Trump Crackdown On Pro Athletes That Consume Cannabis?

The Uncle Cliffy team recently posted an article which discussed anti-cannabis comments made by members of the federal government. Specifically, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Attorney General Jeff Sessions made comments suggesting that ‘greater enforcement’ of federal cannabis prohibition could be on the way. The statements sent shock waves throughout the cannabis community, and rightfully so. The Trump administration is comprised of many long time cannabis opponents, including Jeff Sessions himself, so hints of policy changes should be taken very seriously.

An article by Bleacher Report indicated that the anti-cannabis comments also caused a stir in professional sports league circles. The article did not provide specific names, but referenced ‘several veteran players, agents and team officials’ from the NFL that expressed strong fears about an NFL player being targeted by the federal government for cannabis use. The article also suggested that NBA players could become high profile targets too.

“Stay away from marijuana at all costs. This isn’t about the NFL any longer. This is about the government coming after you.” stated an unnamed ‘higher-profile NFL agent’ according to the article. It is understandable why players and/or their agents would be concerned about federal prohibition. Federal prohibition is no joking matter. People have been arrested on numerous occasions for possessing cannabis on federal property, and it is estimated that as many as 20,000 people are sitting in prisons right now across America for non-violent, cannabis-only offenses.

But what are the odds of a player who is consuming cannabis in a private setting becoming the target of a federal investigation, especially in a state that has voted to legalize cannabis? Cannabis is no more or less illegal at the federal level now than it was before Trump took office. The federal government going after a player for consuming cannabis is technically possible, but far from likely as history has shown. Such a move would be unprecedented.

A professional athlete being penalized by their respective league for failing a drug test is exponentially more likely to occur. Athletes and their agents should certainly be concerned with federal prohibition, and should monitor for any changes in federal policy or enforcement (as every informed citizen should). They should also fight for reform in society in order to help end cannabis prohibition against responsible adults where it exists.

Federal prohibition as it relates specifically to professional athletes needs to be put into perspective. Cannabis consumption is legal in certain jurisdictions in America, and while it’s still illegal at the federal level, there is currently federal legislation (Farr-Rohrabacher amendment) and case law in place that prevents the federal government from using funds to enforce federal prohibition in states where medical cannabis is legal and the person is in compliance with state law. The measure expires at the end of next month, but is currently in effect and will hopefully be extended. 71% of Americans do not want federal laws enforced in states where voters have legalized cannabis for medical and/or adult use.

Cannabis is of course legal to possess and consume in 8 states, and D.C.. Numerous members of Congress from legal states have made it clear they will not cooperate with a crackdown on personal consumers, similar to the scenario being discussed in the Bleacher Report article. All of this will never 100% guarantee that a professional athlete will not become the target of a federal investigation and prosecution, but athletes and their agents need to put the threat of that happening into perspective. Under no circumstances should league officials be fanning the flames of fear that are popping up among athletes and their agents. To do so is harmful to the greater conversation that is going on regarding cannabis reform in professional sports, which is a conversation that MUST keep moving forward.

Athletes are adults and it is up to each individual to decide their actions, and from a purely compassionate, social justice, and wellness standpoint, the Uncle Cliffy team supports athletes making the safer choice and consuming cannabis in a responsible fashion. In addition to fighting prohibition in society, Uncle Cliffy encourages professional athletes to fight hard to end prohibition in professional sports. Whereas case law, federal legislation, and state legalization laws provide some protections for athletes outside of competition, there are zero protections for athletes in leagues that prohibition cannabis. Professional athletes need to recognize that fact, and do everything they can to fix it.

If a player like Seantrel Henderson from the Buffalo Bills consumes medical cannabis in a legal state, they are allowed to do so without fear of prosecution, at least until the Farr-Rohrabacher amendment expires. But that same consumption will later get that athlete suspended by the NFL. In Seantrel’s case, suspended for approximately 10 games.

Even after Seantrel Henderson serves his suspension, cannabis will still likely be prohibited in the NFL. Seantrel uses medical cannabis to treat a condition (Crohn’s disease) that he will have to live with the rest of his life Multiple surgeries make other pain management treatments not an option for Mr. Henderson. As such current NFL policy is essentially forcing Seantrel to either continue to play and suffer needlessly, or be forced into retirement. Athletes’ attention should definitely be focused on federal cannabis policy, but not at the expense of also keeping focus on the harms of cannabis prohibition in professional sports, and keeping pressure on the leagues to get on the right side of history. The Trump administration’s approach to cannabis policy warrants a lot of criticism, but it has yet to truly change anything that wasn’t already in place prior to the last election.

Athletes should be judged by their athletic abilities, how they perform in competition, and by their moral character. Athletes should not be judged based off of how much THC they have in their system. League policies need to be based on science, and not the personal political views of league officials. The National Hockey League (NHL) has proven that cannabis can be removed from a professional sports league’s banned substance list without issues. Instead of athletes ‘avoiding cannabis at all costs’ Uncle Cliffy encourages athletes to stand up and be heard, and to fight cannabis prohibition head-on. The Uncle Cliffy team will continue to fight to free the plant and fight for the rights of those that consume cannabis, and urges athletes and people that live an active lifestyle to do the same!

image via ACLU

pistil point cannabis

Uncle Cliffy On Recent Federal Anti-Cannabis Statements

On Thursday, February 23rd White House press secretary Sean Spicer stated that he expects ‘greater enforcement’ of federal cannabis prohibition laws. Mr. Spicer was speaking at a White House press briefing, and indicated that the ‘greater enforcement’ would be directed at states that have voted to legalize cannabis for adult use (Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts).

Sean Spicer stated the following about opioids and cannabis, “When you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people.” Mr. Spicer stated at the time that it would be up to the Department of Justice to decide how to deal with federal cannabis enforcement. The Department of Justice did not comment at the time, but United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions has since made statements about federal cannabis policy.

Jeff Sessions is a longtime cannabis reform opponent, having once supported a bill that would have resulted in some cannabis convictions being punishable by execution. As recently as April 2016 Jeff Sessions had indicated that he didn’t think that cannabis consumers were good people. So it comes as no surprise to see Jeff Sessions make the following statements this past Monday, per Politico:

“Most of you probably know I don’t think America is going to be a better place when more people of all ages and particularly young people start smoking pot,” Sessions said during an exchange with reporters at the Justice Department. “I believe it’s an unhealthy practice and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago.”

“We’re seeing real violence around that,” Sessions said. “Experts are telling me there’s more violence around marijuana than one would think and there’s big money involved.”

“I’m definitely not a fan of expanded use of marijuana,” he said. “States they can pass the laws they choose. I would just say it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not.”

In a speech to state attorney generals today Jeff Sessions also stated the following:

“I’m not sure we’re going to be a better, healthier nation if we have marijuana being sold at every corner grocery store. Marijuana is a cure for opiate abuse? Give me a break. This is the kind of argument that has been made out there. It’s just almost a desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana or even its benefits. I doubt that’s true. Maybe science will prove I’m wrong. But at this point in time you and I have a responsibility to use our best judgement, that which we’ve learned over a period of years and speak truth as best we can.”

The opinions expressed by Mr. Spicer and Mr. Sessions are not based upon facts. As NORML points out, “Marijuana legalization has not lead to increased crime or violence, but rather is associated with lowered youth use rates and access, increased tax revenue, and fewer arrests of otherwise law abiding American citizens.” A crackdown by the federal government is not only unwarranted for the reason Sean Spicer expressed (fictitious increased violence), but it would push customers from a regulated market back into an unregulated one which could actually increase the risk of a cannabis consumer being exposed to violent situations.

Cannabis policy needs to be based on science, not political rhetoric. Mr. Sessions’ attempt to tie cannabis legalization to the opioid crisis is not just wrong, it’s harmful. Multiple studies have shown that increased access to cannabis results in less opioid use. A federal crackdown would lead to more people using opioids, which is a scenario that the Trump administration claims to want to avoid. If the Trump administration truly felt that way, the last thing it should want to do is crackdown on legal cannabis states.

On the campaign trail candidate Donald Trump stated that he would leave cannabis policy up to the states. Voters in 8 states have spoken loud and clear that they think that prohibition has failed, and that it’s time for a more sensible approach to cannabis policy. Cannabis legalization is working by every measure in states where it exists, and there is zero upside to ‘greater enforcement’ of federal prohibition. Poll results that were released on the same day as Spicer’s comments (February 23rd) found  that 71% of respondents did not want to see federal enforcement of cannabis prohibition in states that have voted to legalize cannabis for adult use. The Uncle Cliffy team hopes that president Trump will stand by his campaign promise to respect states rights, and and allow legal states to proceed without federal intervention.

Commissioner On NFL Cannabis Policy: I Don’t Foresee A Change

A big push has been underway to try to convince the National Football League (NFL) to update its harmful cannabis policy. Currently the NFL considers cannabis to be a banned substance, and any player that submits to a drug test and crosses the 35 nanograms per milliliter THC limit is penalized. This despite record setting levels of support from the American public for cannabis legalization in society (per Gallup), and a majority level of support for professional athletes using legal cannabis in particular.

Eight states have legalized cannabis for adult use, and nearly 30 states have legalized cannabis for medical use. Yet, the NFL clings to its outdated policy. Why? It was the hope of many that the NFL would be on its way to changing its cannabis policy after it was recently announced that the NFL Players Association would be proposing a ‘less punitive’ cannabis policy to the league. That hope was short lived, as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made it clear during his ‘state of the league’ address that the NFL has no plans on the horizon to make any changes. Below is an excerpt from a transcript released by The Cannabist:

Q: Given that medical marijuana or recreational marijuana is legal in many states, including Colorado, do you foresee any adjustment to that policy or any review of that part of league drug policy?

Goodell: “We always review our drug policy. That is something that our medical professionals do on a regular basis. We have had discussions with them in the past about that, not recently. They have opposed that. We are not restricted obviously by the state laws. It’s an NFL policy and we believe it’s the correct policy, for now, in the best interest of our players and the long-term health of our players. I don’t foresee a change in that clearly in the short term, but we’ll continue to be in touch with our medical personnel. If that changes, we’ll discuss it.”

Q: To be a bit more specific on the marijuana question, you said two years ago at the summit with Jack Welch that if there was more research done for medical marijuana for players, you would consider approving it. There has been a lot of research in the last couple years. Players like Jim McMahon and Kyle Turley have talked about how it has helped them. Where does the league stand on the issue of medical marijuana for players and ex-players?

Goodell: “I don’t distinguish between the medical marijuana and marijuana issue in the context of my previous answer. Our medical professionals look at that. That is exactly what we talked to them about. I would assume that it would be used in a medical circumstance or if it is even in recreational, our medical professionals look at it in both ways and determine whether they think it is in the best interest to do that. Yes, I agree there has been changes, but not significant enough changes that our medical personnel have changed their view. Until they do, then I don’t expect that we will change our view.”

The NFL’s approach to cannabis is harmful to players. It forces players to use more harmful substances like pharmaceutical painkillers that often result in a lifelong battle with addiction for the athlete that is left with little choice in the matter. The current policy results in players like Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson being suspended for 10 games. Seantrel Henderson uses medical cannabis to treat Crohn’s disease and has had to endure multiple surgeries that has resulted in part of Seantrel’s intestines being removed.

If the NFL (and its doctors) truly cared for its players, cases like Seantrel Henderson’s would never exist. The NFL’s cannabis policy is clearly not driven by science, but rather the personal political opinions of just a handful of people in power.

Poll: 54% Support For Letting Pro Athletes Consume Cannabis

The most recent Gallup poll puts support for ending cannabis prohibition at the federal level at a record 60%. That is up from 36% in 2005. Momentum for reform has never been greater in American history, and the push to end cannabis prohibition in professional sports has benefited greatly from more and more Americans getting on the right side of history.

Cannabis use among pro athletes is an issue that has been covered a lot in the media lately. Too many players are getting wrongfully penalized for consuming a plant that has been found to be 114 times safer than alcohol. Adults over the age of 21 can now legally consume cannabis in 8 states and Washington D.C.. Yet, still, the NFL will penalize a player for consuming cannabis, even if the consumption was in a legal state. That’s ridiculous.

A majority of poll participants in a recent PRRI poll agree. The poll asked, among other questions, if professional athletes should be allowed to consume cannabis. Below are the poll results specific to that question:

A majority (54%) of the public believe professional athletes should not be prohibited from using marijuana if they live in a state where it is legal.

Again, there are considerable differences of opinion between Democrats and Republicans. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Republicans believe professional athletes should be barred from using marijuana, while only about one-third (35%) of Democrats agree.

Opinion is fractured along religious lines as well. Roughly two-thirds (64%) of white evangelical Protestants believe professional athletes should not be allowed to use marijuana. A majority (53%) of white mainline Protestants also support a ban. Fewer than half of non-white Protestants (46%), Catholics (45%), and religiously unaffiliated Americans (25%) support banning professional athletes from using marijuana.

A majority of fans want professional athletes to be able to consume cannabis if they are doing so legally in a legal state. Most athletes want it. The greater American public wants cannabis reform to end. So why are leagues clinging to prohibition?

California, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Nevada, Maine, Massachusetts, and Washington D.C. Below are the Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), and National Football League (NFL) teams in those areas:

California – Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco Giants, Oakland A’s, Golden State Warriors, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, San Diego Padres, Anaheim Angels

Massachusetts – Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, New England Patriots

Oregon – Portland Trail Blazers

Washington – Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Mariners

Colorado – Denver Nuggets, Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies

Washington D.C. – Washington Redskins, Washington Nationals, Washington Wizards

image via New Horizon Escapes

NFL Players Association To Propose A ‘Less Punitive’ League Cannabis Policy

A big push has been going on for many months now to get the National Football League (NFL) to update its harmful cannabis policy. Currently the NFL limit for THC in a player’s system is 35 nanograms per milliliter, up from the previous 15 ng/mL limit. To put that into perspective, Olympic athletes are held to a 150 nanograms per milliliter threshold. The NFL’s notoriously low THC limit has resulted in a lot of players being disciplined when they wouldn’t have if they were competing for gold medals rather than Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Former NFL players like Eugene Monroe have led the push for reform in the NFL, which has led to the message of reform resonating with current players. The effort culminated this week when the NFL Player’s Association announced that it would be proposing a ‘less punitive’ NFL cannabis policy. Per The Washington Post:

Leaders of the NFL Players Association are preparing a proposal that would amend the sport’s drug policies to take a “less punitive” approach to dealing with recreational marijuana use by players, according to the union’s executive director, DeMaurice Smith.

The proposal will be presented to union’s board of player representatives, Smith said Tuesday. If it is approved by those players, Smith said, the proposal will be made to the league. The NFL would have to agree to any changes to the drug policy, which is negotiated and jointly administered by the league and players’ union.

Details have not been released regarding what the players are proposing. In a perfect world, cannabis would be removed from the NFL’s banned substance list altogether. That is the policy that has been adopted by the National Hockey League (NHL), and the policy has not led to any issues over there. The NFL should follow suit. However, that may not be a realistic goal to achieve, so a ‘less punitive’ approach may be a better strategy. Regardless of what the proposal ends up looking like, it will no doubt be a better policy than what is currently in place. Stepping up for reform in a professional sports league is not an easy thing to do, and the Uncle Cliffy team commends everyone involved with this proposal!

‘Big’ John McCarthy: Research Cannabis For Athletes And Sports Injuries

If you are familiar with UFC history, then you are familiar with the name ‘Big’ John McCarthy. John refereed his first UFC match in UFC 2. For the record, UFC 220 is scheduled for this December. That doesn’t include all of the non-numbered UFC events, as well as all of the other mixed martial arts (MMA) events and organizations that are out there these days. MMA is becoming more and more popular every year. John McCarthy has been a MMA icon for all of those years, spanning over two decades.

John McCarthy has seen his fair share of injuries, especially injuries to the head. It comes with the territory when a victory potentially involves knocking an opponent out. More MMA fights end in submissions than knockouts, but even if a fighter is not knocked unconscious does not mean that the repeated blows to the head don’t cause harm. Just as in the NFL and other sports, MMA fighters need to be proactive with their brain health and need to be educated on what works. Multiple studies have shown that cannabis can be helpful for treating brain injuries, but more research is needed. That’s a point that John McCarthy hammered home in a recent interview with Vegas Cannabis, and excerpt of which is below via MMA Weekly:

Thanks to researchers like Professor Yosef Sarne of Tel Aviv University, we’ve discovered that cannabis may help prevent long term brain damage by administering THC before or shortly after the injury. In fact, Israel Defense Force (IDF) practitioners administer CBD or low-dose THC as a first-line of treatment to IDF soldiers. Is that something that could possibly help a fighter who has developed Traumatic Brain Injury or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy? I don’t know for sure, but why in the world would we not explore the possibility,”

“I think every athlete under the care of a physician should be able to discuss with their physician what type of medication is best for their particular style of life and ailments. I think it is silly to say that marijuana is a dangerous drug, while opiates and opioids are being used all the time and under medical supervision are considered safe. Any medication can have side effects, but we should always be open to finding better ways to handle some of the aches, pains and problems that come with pushing your body to the point of it breaking down. I can remember commercials from when I was a kid that talked about all of the health benefits associated with smoking cigarettes. Is that what we say today? We should always be striving to learn and evolve. We should never hold onto old and outdated methods just because that’s the way we did it then,” he said.

Part of the stigma that surrounds medical marijuana is the falsehood that people using it just want to get high.  McCarthy’s wife has benefited from marijuana’s medicinal properties to treat her lupus.  She currently uses medical marijuana, and it isn’t to get high.

“She started using cannabis to help her lupus in 2016, so it has not been a long time, but we can really see how it makes a difference with her headaches and her fatigue,” said McCarthy.

John McCarthy stated several times in the interview that he has never consumed cannabis, that he doesn’t support fighters being under the influence during competition, and that more needs to be known about the cannabis plant. But McCarthy is clearly in support of cannabis reform and thinks that prohibitions on cannabis are ridiculous given the fact that fighters can consume as many pharmaceutical painkillers as they want. Fighters can also consume alcohol, a substance that has been found to be 114 times more harmful than cannabis, but is widely embraced by MMA companies at their events. MMA fighters could benefit from using cannabis for wellness purposes. They are adults, and should be treated as such. Judge them by what they get done in the octagon, and not by how much THC they have in their system.

Bill Walton Speaks Up For Cannabis Reform During ESPN Broadcast

Bill Walton is one of the most recognizable figures in all of sports. Considered by many to be the most dominant college basketball player of all time, Bill Walton won ‘College Player of the Year’ three times. Bill played for the UCLA Bruins and led them to two Division I titles during his college career. After moving on to the National Basketball Association (NBA), Bill Walton became a two time champion and was selected as the league’s ‘Most Valuable Player’at the end of the 1977-1978 season. Walton is in the NBA Hall of Fame, and was selected as one of the top 50 players in NBA history during the league’s 1997 season.

Walton has never held back his opinions, whether if its about his love for the Grateful Dead or politics. Something that Bill appears to be very passionate about is cannabis reform. During a recent ESPN broadcast Bill Walton was recently caught giving a passionate speech about reforming cannabis laws in America. The broadcast was coming back from a commercial and Bill was in mid reform rant. See the video below:

This is not the first time that Bill Walton has infused his opinions about cannabis reform into a national sports broadcast. During a 2015 University of Oregon Ducks and University of Washington Huskies basketball game Bill made his opinions known about the failed drug war. A clip from the broadcast is below, which also appeared on ESPN:

Bill Walton is clearly on the right side of history. Hopefully he officially joins the cannabis athlete movement and lends his voice more to reform efforts. Bill Walton has a massive following and is respected by everyone that he knows, which is a very long list of people. Every time he speaks about cannabis, minds are no doubt changed. A big hat tip to you Mr. Walton! Throw down those cannabis facts big man, throw them down!