The NFL, as with so many other professional and minor league sports teams, still ascribes to official federal line on marijuana, which is that as a Schedule I narcotic, it is highly addictive, dangerous and has no medicinal value. Of course, our cannabis lawyers in L.A. know that runs counter to the evidence and what dozens of states have thus far concluded. Given that NFL players are some of the most tenacious athletes – and take the hardest hits – they more than most might benefit from medicinal marijuana as an alternative to powerful and highly addictive opioid painkillers. But until the organization changes its stance, we’ll continue to have conflicts such as those seen with free agent Mike James.
James, a running back, injured his ankle during a football game in 2013. According to a CNN report, he was prescribed opioid painkillers. In short order (as so often happens) he became dependent on the pills. He became aware that an addiction was forming and wanted something safer to ease the pain.
After some research, he concluded marijuana was truly the best option – to ease the pain, end his addiction and maintain his physical prowess. James had some reservations about this decision, witnessing the way drug addiction in general harmed his family and his childhood communities. But, like a majority of Americans, he soon learned that cannabis does not belong in the same category as other street drugs at all, and decided to take the leap.
The NFL, unfortunately still takes a hard-line stance with marijuana use by players, who are drug-tested regularly. (Yet League officials see no problem whatsoever with players consuming dangerous opioid pain relievers.) CNN points to to a study from Drug and Alcohol Dependence, in which over half of ex-NFL players surveyed said they used opioids, with 71 percent of them admitting they misused them. Support for prescription painkillers continues, despite many leaders – President Trump included – have declared opioid addiction an epidemic. When it comes to medical marijuana, though, which can be a safe, effective, and non-habit forming treatment under proper medical guidance, this is where NFL leaders choose their line in the sand.