From June 18 through June 21, 2015, history was made concerning marijuana when the U.S. Open golf tournament became the first major American sporting event to allow the plant. Not only was this an important moment in the history of marijuana in America, but it was also a very noteworthy moment because golf was the sport that finally made it happen.
In all fairness, marijuana is only currently legal for recreational use in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Colorado, and the probability of major sporting events taking place in those states has been almost non-existent in recent years.
The two opportunities for a sport other than golf to host a major sporting event in a state where marijuana is legal for recreational use both came in the NFL. Marijuana was legalized recreationally in Colorado in 2012, and the very next year the Broncos hosted a conference title game, as they do this year. In both cases, there were no instructions about letting those with marijuana go right through the gates like there was at Chambers Bay last year.
Those weren't completely days of progress last summer as people could bring the plant into the U.S. Open, but they couldn't smoke it in public. This was a compromise under the law where two bits of state law concerning marijuana collided.
While this might not be a great compromise, it's not as though people that would bring marijuana to an event like the U.S. Open wouldn't be able to find a way around a “no smoking in public” policy for the event. There weren't any reports of massive public smoking and arrests, so those with marijuana at last year's U.S. Open didn't seem to have any problems with the “no smoking in public” policy.
When it comes to marijuana use in professional sports, golf has been able to separate itself from most others. The news of pro athletes in sports like football, basketball, and baseball getting arrested for marijuana possession is almost constant, and the public numbed to its use in the sports themselves. To the general public, there's still a good amount of shock saved up for when big names in the world of professional golf either are arrested for possession or just come out and say they smoke.
Currently, the closest thing most people would think of when it comes to marijuana and golf is a scene in “Caddyshack” with Bill Murray and Chevy Chase. But that has begun to change thanks to revelations around five years ago about marijuana use in professional golf as well as the fact that one of the sport's four major men's tournaments would allow the plant.
Sadly, the one downside is it's likely that more states will have to legalize marijuana for recreational use for another major golf tournament to allow the plant after the way the course at Chambers Bay demolished so many golfers last year, even by U.S. Open standards.