In past months, some had purported the idea that COVID-19 would not survive the summer’s heat, but numbers of cases are higher than ever. Seasonal pastimes, such as viewing sporting events, are being severely impacted by the virus. The top three sports organizations in America are the National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association, according to an article published by SPORTYTELL last week; organizations for each of these sports are working hard to find a way to safely perform for their fans, and at the same time, keep themselves healthy through their seasons. Perhaps due to more research conducted on the plant and its status as an essential item around the time of COVID-19’s onset, America’s sporting world has made a surprising turnaround in its stance against marijuana usage amongst players.
The NFL’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) has introduced a more empathetic, albeit open-minded approach to the cannabis use of its team’s members. The allowed amount of THC in a player’s system has gone from 35 to 150 nanograms; if exceeding that amount in a test taken during the initial 2-week training period of the season, medical professionals will review the case, and may offer the player treatment, rather than a swift expulsion. The NFL hopes that in this way, their formerly strict culture of discipline will be abandoned for good.
The handles @MLB and @MLB Players announced via twitter some of the new and improved rules governing the Joint Drug Program. The announcement states that the MLB and its players have agreed to commit to helping end addictive and potentially lethal behavior by testing for the presence of drugs such as Opiods, Fentanyl, Cocaine, Synthetic THC, and other substances. Changes to the Program went into effect at the start of 2020 Spring Training, stating:
“Natural Cannabinoids (e.g., THC, CBD, and Marijuana) will be removed from the Program’s list of Drug 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.”
The NBA has announced that those playing in the Disney World bubble this July will not be subject to marijuana testing. An announcement last week named the National Basketball Association’s executive director,, Michele Roberts, as the first female board member of Cresco Labs, a global marijuana business. Roberts, a big supporter of cannabis usage in the League, told SB Nation in a recent interview,
“My own view is that there are substantial signs that support its efficacy and the value that it has for us, especially pain management…the obvious future is that marijuana will be decriminalized probably throughout the country in short order.”
If complete decriminalization and legalization of marijuana were to ever occur, America’s economy would likely witness an insurmountable boon. New Frontier Data has estimated that by 2025 – less than five years – a legal cannabis industry in the US could possess a worth of $29.7 billion. The fallout of current events, grim though they certainly have been, seems to hold the key to leading the US toward total federal marijuana legalization.