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!
Whether or not you are into Major League Baseball (MLB) or any other type of sportsballs, it cannot be denied that sports are huge in America. The NFL, NBA, and MLB are gargantuan business ventures and impact the overall culture of the United States. Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball had a momentous impact on U.S. race relations, for instance. Today, we’re seeing more and more current and former professional athletes speaking about the need to legalize cannabis, especially for medicinal purposes, as opioid abuse and overdoses have become a nationwide crisis.
Minor league players will now be allowed by MLB to utilize cannabis in a new agreement. Baseball has been rocked by the tragic overdose death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs this year and it is expected that big league players will also be officially allowed to utilize cannabis, as part of an effort to combat the opioid epidemic, as the Boston Globe:
Tony Clark, the MLB players’ union chief, is optimistic an agreement could be reached before the year’s end. The deal also includes opioid testing and a recovery plan. Minor league players who test positive for opioids would be “put into a treatment program rather than suspended,” CBS Sports reported.
The Los Angeles Times first reported in October that changes may be coming to the MLB at the behest of the players’ union. Testing for opioids and easing marijuana penalties is one way the league is responding to the opioid crisis following the overdose death of 27-year-old Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs earlier this year. Oxycodone, fentanyl, and alcohol were found in Skaggs’ system at the time of his death.
While the MLB is known for being progressive when it comes to cannabis use, many other major league sports in the United States have been slow to reform their stances on marijuana and CBD.
This move by Major League Baseball is just another step forward in the mainstreaming of cannabis and should be applauded. Hopefully, other sports leagues follow suit and our nation can continue our march towards finally implementing a sane cannabis policy from coast to coast.