MLB players banned from cannabis investing and sponsorship's

Published Mar 18, 2020 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / 33ft

Sports leagues have screened players for illicit and performance-enhancing drugs for years now, resulting in some pretty big losses after high scoring players were banned from competing, and until recently, cannabis was one of the agents they sought through spontaneous and non-optional drug testing throughout the season.

As legalization continues to spread like wildfire, the opinions and restrictions on its use have been widely discussed by almost every major league, and in many cases, the rules have already been altered to reflect more realistic expectations that align with what we know now about the cannabis plant today.

Though most still ban the use of THC during the season or surrounding tournaments, almost all of the big major league agencies have decided to allow players to enjoy cannabis while they are off the clock, including the MLB.

MLB teams can toke, but they can’t benefit financially from the cannabis industry

Most MLB players are still celebrating their big break, as it wasn’t until early in 2020 where talks resumed surrounding their contracts, but it seems that the good news was short-lived, as they’ve just announced that MLB teams and individual players are banned from taking a sponsorship or gain financially from deals within the cannabis industry. That means absolutely no commercial contracts and no extra help for associating with a marijuana company.

The announcement was made official when it was released as part of a new memorandum from the Deputy Commissioner of the MLB. This document was an updated package that was dated February 19th of 2020, and it includes some seemingly controversial ideas like a ban that includes all major league doctors from recommending cannabis as a form of therapeutic treatment for medical conditions.

Aside from the morally conflicting statement, in regard to doctors, were some common-sense guidelines, that say that MLB players may not store cannabis or cannabinoid-filled goods on the premises.

A shunning of sponsorship

There is definitely a mixed bag of news now for MLB teams and players to think about, but the biggest concern seems to be the fact that the agency isn’t considering the potential financial boost that the cannabis industry could surely supply. No one is arguing that the players themselves aren’t making enough cash to eat, but the extra cash can help by being put towards research, better training facilities, and other big-ticket items that could significantly improve the look and feel of all major league games.

For now, at least, it seems that this decision will stand going forward into the next contract that begins at the start of this season, and with spring just around the corner, MLB players can finally celebrate the victory of winning the fight for their right to consume cannabis in regions where it is legal. However, the war on weed isn’t quite over yet, and it won’t be until all agencies start taking cannabis businesses, and all of those who are involved with the market, seriously.

There is plenty of money to be made, and it would be an excellent opportunity for a market that remains shunned to finally get a bit of time in the spotlight. Hopefully, this necessary and inevitable change is discussed during the next round of negotiation, but until then, the cannabis industry will once again be left out in the cold due to a fear of what those who participate might think.

Since similar associations with alcohol are allowed by the major league, it seems incredibly unfair to ban the safer, less destructive substance option, and this is why education and research on cannabis are so essential. Once we’re armed with scientific facts, there will be no way to deny that the benefits far outweigh the risks, which might eventually lead to a reduction in alcohol-related advertising in the major league.

NFL to relax cannabis rules in the next collective bargaining proposal

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