It feels as if this issue is resurfacing more and more these days. The NFL has once again denied a player with chronic pain of the purest pain medication out there, medical marijuana. Instead, the professional football league would rather expose players to the harm and possible addiction that can come with using opioids for this purpose. The ruling against players using medical marijuana comes after opioids were the cause of about 64,000 deaths in 2016.
The latest player to apply for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) is running back Mike James. Mike James has put together a decent NFL career. As with many professional football players, Mike suffered an ankle injury that has left him with chronic pain. In order to be an effective player, he needs to manage this pain. He wants to do so in a way that he believes will not destroy his body in the process.
The 27-year-old running back told NJ.com “I am hopeful that I’ll be able to keep playing football.” James went on to say that he is aware what he’s doing may make some people uncomfortable and it is going to come off as an anti-establishment move, but he thinks it will benefit other players as well as himself in the future.
Mike James’ request for a TUE was denied by the NFL.
James is not alone in the fight to allow NFL players to use medical marijuana as a pain management medication. Other players, like veteran linebacker Derrick Morgan, have requested that the NFL takes a deeper look into the benefits of medical marijuana use.
Technically, if a player wants to smoke marijuana during the season as a way to manage their pain, they can get away with it. The NFL has a preseason testing period that ranges from late April until early August. Mike Florio from NBC Sports supplied some insight on this, he stated: “if they stop smoking in approximately the middle of March and refrain until their once-per-year test, they can smoke with impunity throughout most of training camp, most of the preseason, and all of the regular season and postseason.” In other words, as long as a player isn’t careless, they should be able to pass the drug test and continue on getting high as they wish.
Just like most major corporations, the NFL isn’t willing to go against the federal government on this one. As long as the feds say that using weed is illegal, major corporations are likely to say the same.