Blog Post

NFL Players Union Gives Friendly Warning to Players about Upcoming Drug Tests

Derek Rosenfeld

The union representing NFL players, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), put out an alert yesterday letting players know they have a little more than 30 days left before they can be randomly tested for banned substances.

Marijuana can stay in someone's system for up to 30 days, so it’s really aimed at players who use marijuana. If they stop using marijuana now they should be ok if they get tested (beginning on 4/20, coincidentally). While it’s great to see the NFLPA looking out for the players, the NFL needs to do a better job looking out for player safety.

The NFL needs to get with the times and reconsider their marijuana policy.

Currently, 35 states have laws allowing access to some form of medical marijuana, and four states plus the District of Columbia have implemented laws that have legalized marijuana. A majority of Americans favor legalizing marijuana for adults. But beyond all the public support for reforming marijuana laws, there are many reasons more directly related to the NFL and why current/former players suffer because of the NFL’s outdated marijuana policy.

Three Super Bowl champions (Marvin Washington, Brendon Ayanbadejo and Scott Fujita) had it right when they called on the NFL to develop “a more rational and science-based approach to marijuana” earlier this year. They laid out a clear and sensible vision for how the NFL should rethink marijuana.

It’s well-understood that players are using marijuana (and some even prefer it over alcohol and prescription pills), and evidence shows great potential for marijuana to help with concussions, so it’s vexing to watch the NFL continue its outdated views on marijuana.

Commissioner Roger Goodell has expressed a willingness to consider letting players use medical marijuana if medical experts deem it a legitimate option.

Well, the science is in and the public is supportive. So while the league refuses to acknowledge so, players and the game itself will continue to suffer.

Derek Rosenfeld is the digital communications coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance.

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