Going Green in American Professional Sports: Why Marijuana Usage Should Be Allowed and What Policy Changes Should Ensue
Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, No. 15, November 2019
16 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2019 Last revised: 21 Oct 2019
Date Written: October 17, 2019
In America, professional sports carry significant importance. This billion-dollar industry is largely controlled by four professional leagues - the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL) - together known as “the big four.” Currently, each league has player conduct rules aimed at preventing the use of marijuana. This paper analyzes the marijuana-related policies of each league and goes on to suggest that these regulations must be revised to allow for marijuana usage. I argue that the historical misconceptions of marijuana; the outdated, illogical reasons for its initial and continued prohibition in sports; the prevalence and positive public sentiment of marijuana in society today; the ineffectiveness of the leagues’ current policies; and the widespread use of life-threatening, team-prescribed drugs in every league require that these policies be updated. Subsequently, I discuss the potential medical benefits of marijuana for athletes. Lastly, based on my analysis, this paper predicts the immediate future of marijuana in the big four and details what I believe should happen in the future.
Keywords: professional sports league, marijuana regulation, marijuana, marijuana usage, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, big four, revise, medical benefits, medical marijuana, War on Drugs, Controlled Substance Act, public sentiment, ineffective, CTE, pain, opioids, painkillers, Toradol, therapeutic use exemption, committ
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