Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon was suspended for the 2014 season because of a positive test for marijuana. He is a repeat offender of the NFL's substance abuse policy. (Rick Osentoski, Associated Press file)

NFL players union wants to change testing for marijuana

Carefully cultivated marijuana has become increasingly potent, so is it time to change the strict testing standards for weed in the NFL?

While discussions Friday between the league and the NFL Players Association centered primarily on immediate discipline for players arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the meeting in New York also touched on marijuana.

At issue is the threshold of 15 nanograms per milliliter in urine analysis. According to The Associated Press, the union cited the International Olympic Committee’s testing level, which is 150 ng/ml.

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“The (potency) level is so much greater in marijuana now, the secondhand smoke can get a positive test,” NFLPA president Eric Winston told The Associated Press. “Just a guy who is around it second hand, then to have to go into the program?”

One such player is Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who was suspended for the 2014 season after a positive test for marijuana, which his legal team said was caused by Gordon’s exposure to secondhand smoke in an unsuccessful appeal of the suspension. Gordon is a repeat offender of the league’s substance-abuse program.

“We don’t want false positives, we have to move up the minimum to normal workplace standards,” Winston said.

And what are normal workplace standards?

LabCorp, a North Carolina-based company that provides occupational testing services, sets its cutoff level for marijuana at 50 ng/ml, which is the same standard in the U.S. military.