NFL Players Can Now Smoke Weed in the Off-Season

The National Football League has come around on the cannabis debate, and will now permit its players to smoke cannabis in their off-season.

As of 4/20 this year, the National Football League (NFL) will no longer be testing for the active compound in cannabis, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in their random drug tests up until August 9th.

This adds the NFL to the existing list of sports organizations that allow for cannabis use, including the NBA, MLB, and the UFC.

The cessation in testing only lasts until training season re-commences in August, but is nonetheless a sign that the NFL is beginning to accept cannabis use. Moreover, when training season begins, the THC threshold in drug tests will be increased from 35 nanograms to 150 nanograms, and players will no longer be suspended for testing positive for THC.

Players will, however, be fined up to three weeks' pay if they exceed the THC limits.

Cannabis use has been shown to decrease inflammation, and can also act as a substitute for addictive opioid medications that athletes may otherwise have to take to recover in their off-season.

The move to allow for low-level THC use is a large shift for the NFL, who previously suspended players such as Randy Gregory for entire seasons following a positive drug test for THC.

The move signifies a continued move toward accepting cannabis by major institutions and follows the growing legalization of the plant for both recreational and medicinal purposes throughout the U.S.

And, the allowance of cannabis use in the off-season officially began on 4/20, which was a tip of the hat to the unofficial day of celebration for cannabis lovers.

With polling data frequently showing that the majority of Americans favor cannabis legalization, and many athletes coming out in favor of cannabis use to treat their inflammation and to assist in their recovery, the NFL is clearly listening to the public on this issue.

Oh, the times, they are a-changin'.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.