Medical Marijuana in the NFL: Why It’s Time For a Change


In a speech during Superbowl 50 weekend, Roger Goodell reiterated that the NFL’s ban on medical marijuana continues to remain the “correct policy”. He stated that the league’s doctors still oppose marijuana, both recreationally and medically. I can understand why he wouldn’t want recreational use, but the position against marijuana for medical use is absurd to me. This stance appears to be his own personal crusade in going against the country’s growing liberal stance toward marijuana.

In January of 2014, Goodell said the NFL might start allowing medical marijuana if it helped players deal with the horrible effects of concussions. But now it looks like that was all just a bunch of hot air. Goodell knows the success of the business of the NFL is directly linked to the increasing fear of head trauma from playing football. By saying they “might start allowing it”, he is appeasing the fans, doctors, and former players who are disillusioned with the current method of feeding players opiate painkillers until they become addicted.

Recently, weed has been used in the medical field by patients suffering from debilitating diseases like cancer and MS. Doctors believe it to be safer and less addictive than most opium pills such as percocet and oxycodone. Opiates have been used to treat football injuries for years, and the results have been disastrous in some cases. You hear stories of mid-caliber NFL players who get hurt and put on painkillers, only to never make it back into the league. These players stay hooked on painkillers in life after football, and when the bright lights disappear, sometimes they dig a hole for themselves too deep to climb out of. Famous Ex-NFL QB Jim McMahon said marijuana helped get him off painkillers, which were making him depressed and suicidal. Goodell needs to take these cases more seriously because they involve people’s physical wellbeing, not money.

To try and still get the high, players are now trying to smoke legal synthetic marijuana (spice) so they don’t fail drug tests. Last month Patriots star Chandler Jones freaked out and ran to the police station after smoking it. A few months ago All-American college player Robert Nkemdiche jumped out of his 3rd floor hotel window after he thought someone was chasing him. Needless to say they found Spice all over his room. Athletes are putting their personal health at risk just to get high, and it’s not worth it to let these incidents keep happening. I can guarantee you they will until the rule is changed.

Weed should also be legalized for recreational use in the league. For the people who are opposed to marijuana because they say it makes you lazy and uncoordinated, I would say; Then how can weed be a performance enhancing drug? It clearly doesn’t make you better at football like HGH does. Former Browns RB Jamal Anderson was quoted as saying, “When I played, 40 to 50 percent of the league smoked it [marijuana].” In today’s game, he believes the numbers are much higher, saying “It’s at least 60 percent now. That’s because players today don’t believe in the stigma that older people associate with smoking it. To the younger guys in the league now, smoking weed is a normal thing, like having a beer. Plus, they know that smoking it helps them with the concussions.” These numbers, coupled with increased prescription of marijuana by doctors, should be enough convince Roger that even he can be wrong sometimes.

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