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Is Marijuana Still a Banned Substance in Sports?

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Marijuana usage is legal in Washington state but players on the Seattle Seahawks could be suspended for using pot while Seattle Mariners players could be fined. Photo: seahawks.com

By Evan Weiner |

Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer and the National Basketball Association do business in Canada and now the leagues have a new problem facing them. A sports banned substance, marijuana, will be legal and available across Canada soon. Probably in the fall.

How sports leagues and players’ unions handle their marijuana policies in the future is a question because pot usage is slowly being decriminalized. The NFL suspends players for testing positive for pot despite the fact that players perform in four states and Washington, D.C., all of them have legalized pot, California, Colorado, Massachusetts and Washington along with the District of Columbia. Smoking pot is also legal in Nevada which will get Mark Davis’ Raiders in 2020. Major League Baseball fines players and players could end up in a drug treatment program. The same holds true for NBA players. The NHL seemingly is fine with marijuana. Major League Soccer seems to look at pot possession on a case-to-case basis. The UFC is in line with the international government supported World Anti-Doping Agency and will suspend an athlete for a year if caught smoking pot.

The American and Canadian cultures are changing. A number of states, some of them with professional teams, are considering legalizing marijuana in the very near future. In 2017, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed a bill that legalized the recreational use of marijuana in country. The passage of that legalization, on marijuana, occurred on June 20.

It appears the legislation puts pot on the same playing field as alcohol. Beer is a major sports marketing partner. Legalizing marijuana in a state by state or countrywide basis as in Canada will force the hand of sports leagues who will have to justify suspending players for pot use if they live or work in states or countries where marijuana is legal.

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner. 

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