The 2016 election is in the history books, and what a historic election it was. Out of nine states that voted on recreational or medical cannabis legalization, eight of them were victorious! California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts legalized recreational cannabis, and join Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. in doing so.
Arkansas, North Dakota, and Florida voted to legalize medical cannabis, with Montana essentially voting to legalize recreational cannabis for the second time. There are now 28 medical cannabis states in America, along with Washington D.C.. Arizona was the only state voting on cannabis reform (recreational legalization) that failed to pass. To be fair votes are still being counted in Arizona, but the initiative does not appear to be within striking distance of victory.
There are many NFL, NBA, and MLB teams located in states (and D.C.) that have voted to legalize recreational cannabis. Those states (and D.C.) and teams are:
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
All of those teams are located in parts of America that have voted to end cannabis prohibition. However, if players from those teams are found to have cannabis in their system, they are harshly sanctioned. Why is that? Isn’t it time that the NFL, NBA, and MLB recognized the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans (and with it, sports fans) support cannabis reform?
Cannabis is a much safer alternative to alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs, both of which are perfectly OK with the NFL, NBA, and MLB. The 2016 election was a referendum on prohibition in American society. So too should it be seen by league officials as a referendum on cannabis prohibition in sports. Sanctioning players for consuming a substance that is now legal in eight states and Washington D.C. is a bad policy not only for the players, but also for fans that want to see those players compete. Now is the time for current players to speak up, and join the growing list of retired professional athletes that want to see players be able to make the safer choice.