Jerry Jones’s marijuana proposal could save NFL players’ lives
The owner of the Dallas Cowboys said in a recent meeting of NFL owners that the league should “drop its prohibition on marijuana use,” according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.
While recreational marijuana use is legal in eight states plus D.C., and medical marijuana is legal is about 20 more, NFL players are banned from using the drug for any purposes under the existing collective bargaining agreement, which expires in 2020. Under that agreement, players who test positive for marijuana must enter a substance abuse program. Subsequent violations lead to fines, 10-game suspensions, and, ultimately, banishment from the league.
Former NFL players have been increasingly vocal in their criticism of the ban in recent years, saying that medical marijuana is a safe alternative to the powerful prescription opiates routinely prescribed to NFL players for pain. Documents obtained by The Post earlier this year show that NFL teams are heavy users of prescription pain medications, averaging about “six to seven pain pills or injections a week per player over the course of a typical NFL season.”
Science, as it turns out, is on the players’ — and now Jones’s — side.
There’s little evidence that opiates work for the chronic aches and pains often suffered by football players. But there’s strong evidence that anyone, NFL pro or otherwise, who uses opiates on a long-term basis is putting themself at serious risk for drug dependency, overdose and death.