Why Do We Still Punish Athletes Who Smoke Cannabis?

There is no reason to continue to punish athletes who smoke weed. For one thing, public opinion towards cannabis has changed. A majority of Americans support cannabis legalization, so athletes using it isn’t as offensive as it once was. Is it because children look up to athletes and cannabis isn’t family friendly? These same athletes shill for beer companies, so how is that any better? What about the athletes who have domestic violence or rape charges? Do you want your children emulating them?

As you are probably aware it’s time for the big sportsball season to start again. By that, I am of course referring to the juggernaut that is American football. Everyone is excited to watch these athletes pummel their bodies and significantly shorten their lifespans, simply for the sake of entertaining you, their fans. As with every season, not every player gets to participate. This is because they were suspended for using cannabis. Currently, there are four NFL athletes (including Ravens tight end Darren Waller, pictured above) who are suspended for an entire year because of dirty UAs for cannabis. The question on my mind is: why are we still doing this? Why do we still punish athletes who smoke weed?”

Much of the time when NFL stars are caught using cannabis, it’s for pain rather than partying. Why do we punish athletes who smoke weed to deal with the constant pain that comes with being a professional athlete? You don’t have to look at the staggering list of injuries incurred each week of the regular season to know that football in particular is a very punishing sport. There’s a reason more and more former NFL players are coming out in support for cannabis. It’s not because they want to party. It’s because cannabis helps.

Cannabis and sports should actually go hand in hand. Cannabis reduces inflammation and eases muscle aches. Some strains, such as Blue Dream, are perfect for any workout routine. We found out that Michael Phelps, the most decorated American Olympic athlete of all time, was a cannabis enthusiast when a picture of him smoking from a bong surfaced shortly after the 2008 Olympics. If using cannabis can help you win almost 30 gold medals, then shouldn’t we be celebrating it?

I remain hopeful that this will someday change. Jerry Jones, the extremely influential owner of the Dallas Cowboys came out in support of players using cannabis. Commissioner Roger Goodell has refused to budge on this issue, but usually what Jerry wants, Jerry gets. The NFL also recently announced that it was interested in studying medicinal cannabis’ effects as a painkiller. This would have been unthinkable a decade, or even just five years ago. Whether this sudden interest was because of Jones’ influence, remains to be seen.

There is no reason to punish athletes who smoke weed. Cannabis is legal for medicinal use in over half the US. There is no denying the medical benefits for the players themselves. Allowing them to use cannabis might even prolong their careers, which means more money for everyone. We’re almost two decades into the twenty first century, isn’t it time we evolved?

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