(CBS) This weekend’s AFC and NFC championship games will be played in two cities where marijuana is legal.
And yet, marijuana is a banned substance in the NFL that is punished with a potential four-game suspension for first time violators.
But despite the harsh penalties, a MMQB story suggests over half of NFL players smoke marijuana regularly, which is possible because it is not tested for year-round.
Meanwhile, the legalization of the drug in Colorado and Washington has created an extra headache for coaches, as Broncos head coach John Fox had to tell his team: “I know it’s legal now, but you still can’t smoke it,” according to the report.
So if marijuana is legal in Seattle and Denver, should Seahawks and Broncos players be allowed to smoke it?
Obviously, the issue isn’t that simple, but the MMQB story does bring up some interesting arguments. Former NFL safety Hamza Abdullah is quoted as saying: “If you’re 50 and have some ailments, doctors will give you marijuana. If your 26, 27, and play in the NFL, you can’t have marijuana but they’ll give you Vicodin or Percocet.”
Many consider marijuana to be a calming, therapeutic drug, which can help players both physically and mentally. Thus, some believe it can help players stay away from addicting pain killers.
Furthermore, many players believe marijuana is a safer alternative to alcohol, which leads to all kinds of issues for NFL players. In an extreme case, Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and himself in 2012 while he was drunk.
It’s certainly an interesting topic in the NFL and one that is sure to get even more attention in the future as more states legalize marijuana.