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The National Football League (NFL) currently prohibits cannabis consumption by players with zero exceptions. The NFL’s drug test threshold for cannabis is 35 ng/mL of THC metabolites, which is less than Major League Baseball (50 ng/mL) and far less than the standard that Olympic athletes are held to (150 ng/mL).
Over two dozen states have legalized cannabis for medical purposes beyond just low-THC/high-CBD, and all but four states have reformed their cannabis laws to at least allow low-THC/high-CBD possession in limited circumstances. Nine states have passed measures to legalize cannabis for adult-use. Washington D.C. has legalized cannabis for both medical and adult-use.
Of the four states that still completely prohibit cannabis (Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, and South Dakota) none of them have an NFL team. Literally, every state and district that NFL teams are located have more progressive cannabis policies than the NFL itself. Why does the NFL continue to cling to cannabis prohibition? Cannabis prohibition provides zero benefits to the NFL and it can be easily argued that cannabis prohibition is bad for the NFL and its players.
By not allowing NFL players to make the safer choice and use cannabis, the NFL is pushing players towards much more harmful substances, most notably addictive opioids. Increased access to cannabis has been associated with significant reductions in opioid use, which is something that the NFL should be embracing given its ongoing issues related to opioid addiction and abuse by current and former players.
Cannabis has been proven to be 114 times safer than alcohol, which is a substance that the NFL widely embraces. In addition to players being allowed to consume alcohol, the NFL is heavily sponsored by the alcohol industry. The NFL’s prohibition on cannabis in the name of ‘player safety’ while they simultaneously embrace alcohol and pharmaceuticals is