Franco Harris has four Super Bowl rings. He is the Pittsburgh Steelers’ all-time leading rusher and he hasn’t played football in 34 years. Harris is the type of player that NFL traditionalists never stop praising - he played the game hard and tough, he left on his own accord and he’s spent his time out of the league helping the city he once hoisted on his shoulders.
So when Harris came out publicly in support of cannabis use for NFL pain-management this past weekend, we’re pretty sure he ruffled some feathers. But the NFL’s choice to hand out prescription pills like candy while punishing the use of CBD and THC isn’t sitting right with Harris, and he’s not afraid to let the league know.
“The NFL is reviewing its position on medical marijuana,” Harris told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “They’re really reviewing their whole pain management regimen and how those things are handled, but if you don’t mind me giving you my personal feeling, I feel in any state that has approved medical marijuana (as 28 states hosting 20 of the NFL’s 32 teams have), the league should remove medical marijuana from being a banned substance. I feel that recreational marijuana should be a banned substance in the NFL, but medical marijuana has a different composition.”
Harris is, of course, talking about the non-psychoactive cannabidiol, or CBD. Harris isn’t the first former, or current, pro football player to advocate for CBD use, and the NFL Player’s Association has already created a pain management committee to look at the possible benefits of CBD in the locker room, but nevertheless, a change in policy seems miles away.
Still, the Steelers legend isn’t stopping at football. He’s the chairman of Laurel Green Medical, a company trying to get licensed in Pennsylvania’s brand new medical marijuana program, and sees CBD as a benefit for everyone, not just 9-time Pro Bowlers.
“I’ve talked to a number of people and I know there have been studies that show the science behind medical marijuana in relation to pain management,” Harris said. “I’ve talked to people who’ve been in pain due to falling off a roof or being in a car accident and they have praised medical marijuana and how it helped them. The science is there to support its benefits with seizures, epilepsy, a lot of different conditions. It’s not addictive and, to me, this is just one of the most important things we can do for people.”
As for Harris personally, he claims that he still isn’t feeling any adverse effects from his playing days, but if he does - he’s skipping over the Vicodin and going straight for the vaporizer.
“I will tell you this, if it ever comes to a point where I do need pain management, I’d feel very lucky and happy now that we have medicinal marijuana in Pennsylvania.”