WATCH – 4-20-51-50 HIIIGH-KE –
Feb. 17, 2021 – The NFL finally loosened its cannabis testing policy last offseason, amid mounting public sentiment in favor of decriminalization and, in some states, full legalization for both medical and recreational purposes — including states that are home to several NFL franchises. Suspensions for positive cannabis tests no longer exist, while the threshold for positive tests was significantly raised.
The league’s old regulations treated a cannabis infraction roughly as seriously as performance-enhancers or hard drugs like cocaine, loosely mirroring the federal government’s continued listing of pot as a Schedule I drug. The draconian approach cost many prominent players years of their careers, most famously star running back Ricky Williams, who briefly retired from the game in his prime after a fourth positive test. Williams said his body had taken a pounding while shouldering a heavy load as the Dolphins’ feature back, and he was using cannabis to ease his aches and pains. The league also has requested information about “the impact of cannabis or cannabinoids on athletic performance in NFL players.” Countless NFL players have battled opioid addiction and its debilitating effects in recent decades.