Thursday, December 12, 2019

Removing Marijuana Restrictions for Baseball Players

By Adam Dick - December 12, 2019 at 05:59PM

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Some American professional sports organizations, such as the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB), have served as auxiliary enforcers of the United States government’s marijuana prohibition, testing players for marijuana use and imposing penalties on them if it is determined they have used marijuana. On Thursday, MLB, along with the Major League Baseball Players Association, announced a reversal of that policy for baseball players, starting with the 2020 spring training.

Here is how the announcement describes the new policy regarding marijuana:

• Natural Cannabinoids (e.g., THC, CBD, and Marijuana) will be removed from the Program's list of Drugs of Abuse. Going forward, marijuana-related conduct will be treated the same as alcohol-related conduct under the Parties' Joint Treatment Program for Alcohol-Related and Off-Field Violent Conduct, which provides for mandatory evaluation, voluntary treatment and the possibility of discipline by a Player's Club or the Commissioner's Office in response to certain conduct involving Natural Cannabinoids.

• Educational Programs on the dangers of opioid pain medications and practical approaches to marijuana will be mandatory for all Players and Club Personnel during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. These educational programs will focus on evidence-based and health-first approaches based on reputable science and sound principles of public health and safety.

MLB is not, however, giving up on the drug war altogether. At the same time it is removing the marijuana restrictions, MLB is expanding testing for opioids, fentanyl, cocaine, and synthetic THC.

Mick Akers delves into the MLB changes, and discusses the differences in treatment of major and minor league baseball players regarding drugs, in a Las Vegas Review Journal article you can read here.

More professional sports organizations will surely follow in eliminating marijuana use prohibitions.

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