After seven states voted to legalize marijuana in some form on Election Day, including California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine in support of recreational marijuana, and Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota passing ballot initiatives legalizing medical marijuana, the NFL Players Association announced it will be looking into the possible medial benefits of cannabis on players. While the union or league has not determined if or when marijuana will be lifted off the league’s banned substance list, it shows professional football is at least willing to hear more about the subject.
“We are actively looking at the issue of pain management of our players. And studying marijuana as a substance under that context is the direction we are focused on,” George Atallah, the NFLPA’s assistant executive director of external affairs, told the Washington Post.
As acceptance of cannabis grows across America, more critics have called on the league to revisit its policy that some see as outdated and also dangerous, that cannabis can lessen dependance on opiate-based painkillers and also possibly help bring down the swelling caused by repeated hits to the head.
While there has been some speculation as to why the league has maintained a hard stance on marijuana use, from financial to possibly coming into play as a “bargaining chip” to “force the union into some concessions,” as former NFL punter Chris Kluwe told Rolling Stone this past September, just getting to this point seems like a step in the right direction. That suspending players for using only brings bad press, and, as former quarterback Jake Plumber sees it, the league would be “creating compassion, and I think showing that they care about the game and the players.”