Cannabis reform has been sweeping across America since 1996 when the first state, California, voted to legalize medical cannabis. Since that time a number of states have followed suit in legalizing medical cannabis, and eight states have voted to legalize cannabis altogether. Washington D.C. has also legalized cannabis for both medical and adult use.
But while cannabis reform has occurred in society, most professional sports leagues have not evolved past full prohibition. The National Hockey League does not list cannabis as a banned substance, but Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), and the National Basketball Association (NBA) all prohibit cannabis, no exceptions. This despite an overwhelming majority of teams in those leagues being located in a state or country (Canada) that has reformed its cannabis laws in some form.
As the Uncle Cliffy team has pointed out before, cannabis has been legalized in some form (at least cannabidiol and/or low THC) in every state in America except five states (Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota). It is worth pointing out that Nebraska has decriminalized possession of cannabis, which puts it ahead of professional sports leagues that punish its players for possessing cannabis in states where it is a crime. However, Nebraska does not have a MLB, NFL, or NBA team.
There are only two teams from the NFL, NBA and/or MLB in the referenced list of full prohibition states, and they are both located in Indiana (the Pacers and the Colts). Indiana’s Governor currently has a medical cannabis bill awaiting his signature, which if signed, would result in zero NFL, NBA, or MLB professional teams being located in a state where cannabis is completely prohibited. A recent tweet by local Indiana media suggests that the Governor is very likely to sign the bill, as seen below:
Holcomb says he will “proudly” be signing bill allowing marijuana-derived oil for treatment of epilepsy into law. #INlegis pic.twitter.com/YpoHgOzsZT
— FOX59 News (@FOX59) April 25, 2017
Soon there will be no MLB, NFL, or NBA teams located in full prohibition states barring some type of league expansion. Players in these major sports leagues can legally purchase cannabis for adult use purposes right now in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, provided that they are 21 years old or older. Soon the same will be true for Maine, Nevada, Massachusetts, and California. California in particular is home to many MLB, NFL, and NBA teams. Legalization is also coming to Canada next summer at the federal level.
It’s beyond time that the NBA, NFL, MLB, and any other sports leagues that prohibit cannabis by its competitors make a serious effort and re-evaluate their stance against cannabis. They need to get on the right side of history and allow the players to make the safer choice. Free the plant!
image via WellandGood.com