There has big push has been underway to try to convince the NFL to have some compassion for its players and allow them to use cannabis for medical purposes. As it stands the NFL prohibits cannabis use in all forms, even when the use is entirely medical in nature. No exceptions are made.
A sad example of that is the case of Seantrel Henderson from the Buffalo Bills. Seantrel was suspended 10 games after testing positive for cannabis. Mr. Henderson suffers from Crohn’s disease, and has had to undergo intestinal surgery twice which resulted in part of his intestines being removed. Seantrel Henderson uses medical cannabis to treat his condition instead of pills because pills are not an option given his surgeries (in addition to cannabis being safer and more effective).
Even after serving his suspension Seantrel will be forced to either retire or play up until he is suspended again for using his medicine. If the NFL will not make an exception for Seantrel Henderson, and have even gone as far as suspending him for double digit games, clearly the league will not make an exception for anyone. Where is the compassion for players?
Support for medical cannabis is strong among NFL players. An ESPN poll found that 71% of NFL players felt that medical cannabis should be legal in every state. A new poll asked 151 NFL players various questions, including if the NFL should defer to a players’ doctor on whether or not to use cannabis. The poll found an overwhelming 86.75% level of support for such a move. 74.34% said that they would consider using medical cannabis if the league made the policy change.
Every state where an NFL team is located has reformed its cannabis laws to at least allow possession and consumption of products that are high in cannabidiol (CBD), if not the whole plant. Indiana (Colts) was the last state to do so, with a CBD-specific bill being signed into law recently. 93% of Americans support medical cannabis legalization. Knowing this, why is the NFL so out of touch with the will of voters, fans, and players?
“With medical cannabis being legal in so many states, and so many studies showing that cannabis works, why is the NFL still prohibiting its players from using it for medical purposes? Cannabis is safer than opioid painkillers, which the NFL widely embraces, so why not let NFL players make the safer choice?” said Uncle Cliffy President Cliff Robinson.
Cannabis has been proven to treat all types of conditions, having been the subject of more studies than hydrocodone, toradol, and tylenol – combined. Why is the NFL clinging to a failed, racist policy instead of having some compassion for its players? Why not allow these grown adults, with the permission of their primary physicians, to use medical cannabis if they choose to do so? What is the harm?
image via Beyond the Game
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