A few days ago, it was reported that Major League Baseball would stop punishing minor league ball players for cannabis use, treating cannabis like alcohol. It was expected that this change would reach the big leagues sooner than later, and it just took a couple of days as MLB has made the dramatic change official. This is a major step in the right direction as baseball is “as American as apple pie” and this move will impact the National Football League and other sports, further mainstreaming cannabis in our culture.
Marijuana will be removed from the list of drugs of abuse and will be treated the same as alcohol as part of changes announced Thursday to the joint drug agreement between MLB and the players’ association. In addition, suspensions for marijuana use will be dropped from the minor league drug program.
Opioids are classified as a drug of abuse under the joint big league program, which began in late 2002 and until now has limited testing to performance-enhancing substances and banned stimulants.
“It is our collective hope that this agreement will help raise public awareness on the risks and dangers of opioid medications,” deputy baseball commissioner Dan Halem said.
The opioid addiction and overdose epidemic is severely impacting families across the United States, and it is good to see baseball taking the issue seriously and making some common sense changes to its drug policy. The road towards achieving true equality for the cannabis community and implementing a sane drug policy is a long one, but it is great to celebrate victories like this today, wherever they occur in our societal landscape. Step by step, person by person, sports league by sports league, common sense is on the march!