The league and the players association will have two committees to oversee the research. This is a big step for the NFL which has strict rules on cannabis consumption for its players. The league has faced a lot of criticism for the prescription addictions that injured players suffer from.
“There are a lot of alternative pain medications and treatments and those are the types of things that we want this committee to focus on, with medical experts and with medical science behind that” Commissioner Roger Goodell said. This is a big change from his stance in 2017 when he said the league did not believe medical marijuana offered any benefits.
In an interview with Vice in 2015, former linebacker Phil McCants said he was taking 183 pills a day towards the end of his career to cope with the pain. Eugene Monroe, former Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman has advocated for the use of cannabis. “This is medicine… the application we are talking about is its medical application,” Monroe told Rolling Stone in 2017, he also noted that despite the leagues hardline stance on Cannabis, it does not control players’ alcohol or tobacco consumption and instead promotes alcohol through its advertising.
Former players like Chris Long have admitted to using cannabis while playing in the NFL, but despite the new medical partnership, it does not appear like the league will be changing its tune on recreational use. However, this may be the first step in doing so.