In 2014, the National Football League revamped its drug policy, relaxing some of the previous edicts about marijuana use. The threshold for a positive test increased from 15 nanograms per milliliter to 35 ng/ml, and the punishment for a positive test changed, as well. Although a first-time offense still results in the player entering a substance abuse program without a suspension, the second offense is a two-game fine and the third a three-game fine. That means it takes three strikes before a player gets suspended.
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But will the NFL cannabis policy ever get more real about THC and CBD?
“I think they have to, and hopefully soon,” says cannabis industry attorney Christian Sederberg. “If you put aside just the chronic pain issues that NFL players experience, and opiate addiction, and opiate intolerance…they have to revisit this, particularly on concussion issues.”
Denver Post sports reporter Nicki Jhabvala agrees that the NFL is headed for a policy revamp. “I think they’re gonna have to eventually,” she says. “The more active players are coming out in support of that. And when you get the active players speaking out, the owners are going to have to support them, because they’re paying them and they need them — this is their product.”
Jhabvala adds that she thinks the NFL will start with CBD, because “it’s a little more innocuous without the THC.”