A growing number of professional athletes, both current and retired, are coming out in support of cannabis reform. Cannabis prohibition is a failed public policy, and has ruined many athletes’ careers over the decades. This despite the fact that cannabis has been proven to be effective at treating many medical conditions and is 114 times safer than alcohol.
Eight states have legalized cannabis for adult use, and 28 (soon to be 29) states have legalized cannabis for medical use beyond just CBD oil. Washington D.C. has legalized cannabis for both uses. Canada has legalized medical cannabis at the national level, and is set to legalize cannabis for adult use by next summer. A number of countries are also reforming their cannabis laws.
Yet, most professional sports leagues still fully prohibit the use of cannabis for any purpose. A big exception is the National Hockey League (NHL) which does not list cannabis on its list of banned substances. The NHL is a glowing example of how a professional sports league can end cannabis prohibition and continue on without it being an issue. Why are more leagues not following the NHL’s lead?
Yahoo and Marist College conducted an extensive cannabis poll, the results of which were released today. The poll involved a number of cannabis questions, with two of them specifically touching on sports and cannabis. The results showed overwhelming support for professional athletes using cannabis for both adult and medical use. The two specific questions, and their results, were:
Would you have more or less respect for your favorite sports athlete if you learned they used marijuana in their personal life? (68% answered that it ‘makes no difference’, 28% said they would have ‘less respect’, and 3% said that they would have ‘more respect’)
Do you approve or disapprove of a professional sports athlete using marijuana for pain? (69% answered that they would ‘approve’, 26% would ‘disapprove’, and 5% were unsure)
These poll results are further proof that team owners and league officials are on the wrong side of history. A combined 71% of poll participants would have equal or more respect for a professional athlete if they found out that they consumed cannabis, and not just for medical purposes. That’s significantly more than the support for national legalization (60%) by American voters, and the same as the level of support for league medical cannabis legalization among NFL players (also 71%).
Professional sports league officials need to give the fans what they want. Fans want to see their favorite athletes in competition, and not on the bench serving an unnecessary suspension, or even worse, out of the league entirely. Cannabis prohibition provides zero benefit to a professional sports league, just as it provides zero benefit to society outside of stadiums and arenas. If you know of a player, coach, or someone else that is on the fence about supporting cannabis reform in sports, the Uncle Cliffy team encourages you to share these poll results with them.