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Major League Baseball removes marijuana from drugs of abuse classification

Published: Dec 13, 2019 by John Izzo reported on December 12, 2019, that Major League Baseball removed marijuana from its list of abuse, joining the National Hockey League as the only professional sports league to do so. The change will be made when spring training begins in 2020.

According to Major League Baseball’s press release, Natural cannabinoids- including TCH, CBD, and Marijuana- will be removed from the list of Drugs of Abuse. Marijuana-related conduct will be treated the same as alcohol-related conduct. This means there will be a mandatory evaluation, voluntary treatment, and the possibility of discipline by the player’s team or the Commissioner’s office in response to certain conduct involving natural cannabinoids. There will no longer be a mandatory suspension without pay. also reported that the NFL announced in May 2019 that it would be working with the players association to create a Joint Pain Management Committee that would “conduct research concerning pain management and alternative therapies.” These alternate therapies would include cannabis, cannabinoids, and CBD.

According to an on-line article by the American Bar Association, 87 professional U.S. sports teams have athletes playing professionally in a state that legalized medical or recreational marijuana. In addition, 9 professional Canadian teams compete in predominantly American leagues. Is it time for a widespread change?

As states continue to recognize marijuana as a medicine, we can expect other professional sports to follow Major League Baseball’s lead. The NCAA may be the country’s largest regulatory agency for athletics. According to a 2018 Pew Research survey, 62% of Americans thought marijuana should be legalized for recreational or medicinal purposes. Should the changes begin with collegiate sports?

Marijuana and CBD continue to change in the eyes of regulatory agencies. This includes cultivators, processors, testing laboratories, dispensaries, patients and other consumers. It is important stay up-to-date on the evolving law.

If you have any questions about Medical Marijuana in Ohio, including how to comment on the Pharmacy Board’s proposed rules, you should consider contacting an attorney at Graff & McGovern. John Izzo of Graff & McGovern can be reached at 614-228-5800, extension 5.