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MLB Loosens Restrictions on Cannabis Consumption for Players, But Still Would Impose Fines

Flickr @ Bill Selak

Major League Baseball (MLB) made further clarifications to their policy concerning players consuming cannabis, according to a report from ESPN regarding the announcement. 

Players can consume cannabis during the off-season or downtime, but are not permitted to be sponsored by any cannabis companies. MLB officials clarified that cannabis sponsorships, for now, are not permitted. This issue will be addressed by the league in the future, but “until such guidance is issued, any such investments or commercial arrangements are still considered to be prohibited in accordance with current practices”, according to ESPN.

If MLB players are thought to be under the influence at the time of practice, games, or other team activities, they are subject to fines and other repercussions. 

“Any player who appears under the influence of marijuana or any other cannabinoid during any of the Club’s games, practices, workouts, meetings or otherwise during the course and within the scope of their employment” will undergo a “mandatory evaluation” for a potential treatment program, according to the report from ESPN.

As it currently stands, there are 12 MLB teams – the A’s, Angels, Blue Jays, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners, Padres, Red Sox, Rockies, Tigers, and White Sox – who all play ball in cities where cannabis is legalized for adult consumption. Medical cannabis is legal in every state that has an MLB team, except for Georgia, Texas, and Wisconsin at this time.

The MLB isn’t the only major sports league to consider modifying their cannabis policy, but the baseball league is currently more accepting of players doing so than pro football. The NFL player’s association recently brought up the topic of players consuming cannabis in conjunction with their negotiations for their upcoming collective bargaining agreement.

Detractors of sports leagues modifying their cannabis policies have made the claim that players will lose discipline if they consume during their playing careers. However, surveys show that more career-oriented professionals ages 35 and younger responsibly consume cannabis than ever before – and they are getting sick of the antiquated stoner stereotypes. And players have been allowed to consume alcohol and tobacco for almost 100 years. 

Anyone who is a fan of professional baseball will likely know the legends of Babe Ruth drinking copious amounts of booze and smoking cigars daily. There are no discussions about alcohol and tobacco being banned from sports leagues, so why should cannabis be any different? You decide.