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Last week, as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots prepared for their inevitable victory in what many are calling the most boring Super Bowl of all time, one New Orleans Saints player was dealing with a situation even more stressful than the big game.
According to the New Orleans Advocate, Saints’ Defensive Tackle David Onyemata was cited for misdemeanor cannabis possession after Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant at his Elmwood, Louisiana apartment, where they found nearly three ounces of marijuana, THC oils, infused edibles, and hemp supplements.
A spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office told the Advocate that the amount of cannabis found in Onyemata’s apartment was not enough to warrant felony charges or formal arrest, leading to a misdemeanor citation for the NFL star. The same spokesperson made it clear that the cannabis found in Onyemata’s apartment was for his own personal use, and not meant for distribution.
The ordeal all started when workers at a US Customs & Border Protection facility in Buffalo intercepted a package addressed to Mr. Onyemata that they said contained an illegal substance. Investigators then passed the case on to the local Sheriff’s Office, who secured a search warrant and raided the Elmwood apartment the next day.
After the incident was over, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office did not comment on the optics of using a search warrant to stop one man from lighting up, but from where we stand — the entire ordeal seems a tad extreme.
Over the past few years, both current and retired NFL players have repeatedly spoken out and advocated for the use of medical and adult-use cannabis to be removed from the league’s banned substance list. The athletes argue that the all-natural plant is healthier than both the prescription painkillers currently doled out by team doctors and the alcohol that players drink to unwind after hard-fought contests.
Medical cannabis is legal under strict oversight by the state of Louisiana, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office noted that Onyemata was not registered in the state-approved program.
Onyemata will face his court summons in the near future, but it is not yet clear if he will receive a workplace punishment in the form of a fine or suspension from the Saints or the NFL.
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