In an interview with ESPN Outside the Lines, National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said the union intends to present a proposal to the league “that has probably a more therapeutic approach” to players who test positive for cannabis.
“The idea is simply to make sure that we understand whether a player is suffering from something other than just a desire to smoke marijuana,” Smith said. “I think all of us would want to have a process where if there was truly a problem, we’re treating the problem instead of just treating a symptom.”
Smith didn’t elaborate on what he meant by “a more therapeutic approach.”
According to a report from Deadspin, both the NFLPA and the team owners desire to remove cannabis from the league’s banned substance list; however owners are keen to use the issue as a bargaining chip in labor talks which, depending on the concession, might not be worth the fight.
Under the current collective bargaining agreement, which doesn’t expire until after the 2020 season, the threshold for a positive cannabis test is 35 nanograms – the strictest limitation in professional sports.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seemingly has no interest in reforming the league’s cannabis policy, referencing the “health and safety” of players when discussing the alleged dangers of cannabis use.