When it comes to whether marijuana should be made legal across the entire nation, the majority of the players hammering down this season in the National Football League (NFL) are in favor of this reform.
A new poll conducted by ESPN found that 71 percent of NFL players believe marijuana should be made legal in every state -- similar to how the country handles alcohol. The survey comes on the heels of a recent Gallup poll that finds 60 percent of the American population now supports the legalization of a taxed and regulated cannabis industry.
Unfortunately, the NFL still frowns on the use of marijuana, even if it is only for medicinal purposes. There has been some controversy over the past couple of years surrounding the league’s anti-marijuana policy, with many former players coming out to suggests that medical marijuana has helped them curb their addiction to dangerous prescription painkillers. Still, the NFL has all but refused to budge with respect to its drug policy.
So it’s not much of surprise that ESPN’s poll found that 58 percent of NFL players report having a teammate at some point in their career that became addicted to painkillers. The survey also found that around 46 percent of NFL players are likely using pain medication on a regular basis.
One of the most interesting aspects of the poll is that 83 percent said they have used marijuana to help ease the symptoms of a concussion. Recent studies have shown cannabis to be effective in reducing brain inflammation.
In a new interview with ESPN, ex-Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Eugene Monroe credits his use of marijuana for being the salvation to the many physical and emotion struggles he endured as a result of playing football. Over the summer, Monroe donated $80,000 in hopes that researchers could determine whether marijuana is a viable alternative to painkillers. Since then, he has even gone as far as to petition the NFL in an attempt to get the league to finally allow players to use cannabis.
So far, the league has not shown much interest in changing.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this year that the league’s ban on marijuana is the “correct policy for now.”
“[It’s] in the best interest of our players and the long-term health of our players,” he said. I don’t foresee a change in that clearly in the short term, but we’ll continue to be in touch with our medical personnel. If that changes, we’ll discuss it.”
Interestingly, some believe the NFL is not willing to change its attitude of marijuana because one of its primary sponsors is the alcohol industry. Last November, Bud Light signed a $1.4 billion contract to be the exclusive beer of the NFL until 2022.