Major League Baseball Warns Players Not to Show Up to the Ballpark Stoned
As spring training kicks off, Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem sent a memo out that effectively threw a wet blanket on the league's new cannabis rules.
Published on March 2, 2020

In the months since the World Series wrapped up, the baseball community has been focused on two main topics, cheating and weed. And while the Houston Astros have still been taking the field despite clear evidence of improper play, the MLB’s pot policy has changed for good. But while players will no longer be tested for cannabis, the league still doesn’t want center fielders catching pop flies between bong rips.

According to an exclusive report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan, MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem sent a league wide memo to players late last week warning that players would continue to be punished for marijuana use, even as the league begins to reform its rules about the plant. In particular, Halem noted that all league employees are still restricted from showing up to work high, whether it be at practice, team trips, or on game day.

“[Players and team personnel who] appear 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,” the memo read.

Major League Baseball made waves across American professional sports when league officials announced the end of cannabis testing late last year. The NFL is working to add its own marijuana leniency rules, but baseball’s recent substance use changes has quickly become the most progressive cannabis policy in major pro sports. No matter how chill MLB will be about weed, though, the league is still adamant that team doctors stick to federally prescribed medication, no matter the state-specific status of weed legalization in each team’s home city.

“Club medical personnel are prohibited from prescribing, dispensing or recommending the use of marijuana or any other cannabinoid," the memo said, Passan reported.

On the business side of things, the MLB letter stressed that active players were forbidden from investing or starting businesses in the cannabis industry. Despite harsher rules in leagues like the NBA, a number of professional basketball players have pursued the green rush in their private time. Unfortunately for baseball players, those opportunities are not quite accessible. The memo did say that the league was analyzing current rules and could change the business provision in the future.

“Until such guidance is issued, any such investments or commercial arrangements are still considered to be prohibited in accordance with current practices."

The memo also pointed out that use of over-the-counter CBD products, while technically allowed by players and team personnel, is highly discouraged due to the uncertain nature of legal cannabidiol production

So when baseball’s regular season kicks off later this month, players will be free to puff pot all they want at home. But don’t bother offering your favorite player a hit of your vape pen during batting practice, or they could still be subject to a hefty suspension.

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Zach Harris
Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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