Why It Is Time To Allow Marijuana In Baseball
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Why Its Time To Allow Marijuana In baseball
The Green Revolution has become a hot button topic recently constantly becoming one of the most recommended issues people have wanted national politicians including potential presidential nominees to talk about.
The issue is about to get really get on the hot stove as it could potentially be on the ballot in a dozen states and potentially pass in a couple of state legislators. Off those states include baseball hotbeds Arizona, Florida and California which not only all have major league teams but minor league affiliates as well.
As it currently stands players on a 40 man roster dont face penalties more than fines for smoking weed but players in the minor leagues (and for now D1 Colleges) face extreme penalties starting at 50 games.
Below is a quote I took from a Yahoo Sports article:
“Most stories about weed and baseball are rather funny.”
Like guys smoking their way onto the 40-man roster. Or the big leaguer who wrote a check for twice the size of his fine to cover the next one.
One player enjoys telling a story about how he heard from someone with MLB to discuss his positive test. He took a screenshot of his phone just to record for posterity the time of the call: 4:20.” Link
MLB will in the future and should get rid of any penalties for smoking weed. The policy MLB has currently for players on the 40 man roster isn’t terrible but still annoying.
The NFL instead has made a joke of the policy but keeps it due to what i believe will be a bargaining chip. The NFL tests on only APRIL 20th for players who have never previously failed a test for weed.
So that basically means don’t smoke from mid march until 420 and you can for the remaining 11 months. It would be oblivious to say that that policy isn’t designed to be naive.
They test for just about every other illegal substance randomly which all but very few are on their due to providing a statistical advantage that could harm the game which marijuana as we now know it won’t.
The NFL has that as a bargaining chip that the owners likely wouldn’t mind them losing if they can keep other subjects like the franchise tag or push their revenue percentage higher amongst many things.
Impact on the Minors
This is further proof that payers in the minor league needs some form of representation whether that be under a wing of the MLBPA or a separate union which would be difficult to construct and manage.
In 2010 Jeremy Jeffress was able to “smoke his way” onto the Brewers 40 man roster. What had happened was he was already suspended 2 prior times (50 and 100 games respectively) – and if he would be suspended a third time then he would have faced a potential lifetime suspension.
Seeing as he was a top prospect for the Brewers they decided to add him onto the 40 man roster where he wouldn’t face any suspension.
There was already lots of damage done as the previous two times he was suspended accounts for nearly a full season of games where he didn’t get a chance to pitch and develop.
While it is a whole other discussion the minors do need a union and it should be a priority that “AAAA” type players must push for.
The minors marijuana policy is hypocritical and extremely ineffective. It is also extremely replaceable.
I don’t believe that the owners negatively care if the players smoke weed or use it for medicinal purposes but they do care when a top prospect like Alex Reyes gets suspended for using cannabis for 50 games which hinders his development.
I would like to see any possible suspension or fine be completely eliminated for using cannabis which would be beneficial for the players and do no harm to the owners.
Perhaps the biggest argument to wipe away any fines for marijuana is for medicinal purposes where many players have said it has helped them deal with pain and get off of terrible painkillers which do tremendous harm to your body.
Toradol (which is banned in many countries) would be among the worst. It is a painkiller which gives short term numbness and can be injected into the body.
The danger with Toradol comes with abuse of the drug that has many in the scientific community very worried.
I took this snitbit from a New York Times article:
“Pitcher Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels called Toradol “an in-clubhouse thing” and declined to say whether he had used it.
Reliever Brad Lidge of the Washington Nationals said he had not used Toradol, but knew there were potential long-term consequences.
Some other pitchers interviewed in various clubhouses declined to answer questions about the drug.”
Toradol could potentially cause problems for both the owners and the players. Toradol is widely used by pitchers more than hitters as it helps deal with the pain in their arm. Toradol many fear has potential negative long term effects that could cause tremendous harm to players over time.
It could also be negative to MLB and the Owners as team doctors are abusing this drug giving it to players at free will and that could cause lawsuits down the line where further medical research can determine how bad it really is for you and the players having no idea at the time.
Toradol isn’t the only drug being abused though. Oxycontin is also widely abused which is not as bad for you as Toradol but is from the opium plant and can lead to greater dangers such as Heroin use which is also an Opioid.
Across the country there is a Heroin epidemic likely caused due to dependency of prescription pills and the fact that Heroin in many cases is not only stronger but cheaper as well depending on the grades.
This is a problem for MLB as athletes likely have the money to purchase high grades of heroin which overdoses can cause death such as what happened to legendary actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
Jim McMahon was the Super Bowl winning QB for the 1985 Chicago Bears and has recently made the news for his opinion on medical marijuana. He used to take over 100 pills of Percocet a month and now it has been replaced by medical marijuana.
For those that don’t know marijuana currently has two main subjects which we are currently using and studying.
THC is the one which gets you high and CBD (Cannabidiol) which is the one that helps deal with many medicinal issues such as epilepsy. Medical marijuana that is given to kids and for many medicinal purposes is heavy on CBD and usually contains very little THC.
For adults many prefer strains higher in THC (usually above 20%) or will smoke concentrates also known as dabbing such as shatter, crumble and wax.
The strains high in THC can also be used for medicinal purposes as Jim McMahon uses. Here is a quote I took from the Chicago Tribune:
“I know medicinal marijuana has been a Godsend for me,” With my chronic pain, all my surgeries I’ve had. The arthritis. It’s getting me through the day. I would hope the governor would get on board with this. It’s helped so many people: epileptics, cancer patients… It helps me every day. I feel a heck of a lot better than when I had to take all those pain pills.”
While medical marijuana might only work for some it is much better than taking prescription painkillers which have many terrible effects on your body.
I do agree that there must be further research on marijuana but in its history there are ZERO reported deaths while there is a prescription pill overdose epidemic especially in the northeast.
The hope is that marijuana can help ease the use of pills among athletes which can cause incredible harm.
I do believe that as science gets better there will be marijuana available in more forms and some without the psychoactive effect which would be better for before game use.
This is not meant to solely be an attack on Toradol or Oxycontin as there are many drugs athletes take and many can cause incredible harm or in some cases death.
While cannabis seems “Taboo” (That “Taboo” will quickly fade in many areas once legalized) in many areas the industry presents incredible marketing opportunities.
Many in the music industry have long been associated from the psychedelic bands of the late 60s and 70s to Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg and reggae legend Bob Marley who are commercially tied with name branding and sponsorship of products.
This is rapidly changing such as high end automobile companies looking to get involved in high end paraphernalia as well as many investors securing sponsorships of people from different backgrounds such as Oscar Robertson, Seth Rogan and Frostee Rucker.
Marijuana as an industry I believe will be worth over 100 Billion dollars by 2022 and with that comes potential for professional sports and their athletes to get a cut.
Alcohol is very closely intertwined in baseball which mainly focuses on grabbing a beer and watching the game whether that’s at the stadium or on the couch.
Whether baseball likes it or not cannabis will be as well as many fans will possibly be consuming cannabis in one of its many forms at home while some could try to eat an edible before a game or sneak marijuana in. That could present a problem for MLB or they can choose to embrace it.
They could have smoke stands similar to tobacco or at some point in the future offer products such as marijuana edibles at the stadium similar to selling beer. So with that the potential of marketability for MLB remains enormous.
This also holds true for the players as they are very influential among a key 18-35 age group and could garner interest for branding.
Similar to alcohol and vitamins I think MLB should and will eventually allow teams to partner with large companies in the marijuana industry. Here are some ways these industries could collide
– Players could brand their own strain as a strain such as “Tim Lincecum” would certainly be marketable
– Teams could partner with chains
– The marijuana industry will likely be interested in commercials targeting the 18 to 35 demographic
– Paraphernalia being named after certain players (I can imagine “The Big Hitter” being a model of a piece that could be easily marketed by a power hitter such as Giancarlo Stanton).
– Sales within stadiums.
– Joint papers or other team images being branded.
– Stickers and pennants among other licensed team logos. Legality, How to Implement and Manfred’s small bargaining chip.
Perhaps the biggest barrier to implementing a marijuana policy is the fact that it’s not federally legal or legal in many states.
Politically it is a scorching hot topic with nearly all presidential candidates saying they would either fully legalize marijuana or allow it to be a state issue.
Per Presidential Candidate – Stance On Marijuana:
Bernie Sanders= 100% legalization and removed from all scheduled drug lists.
Hillary Clinton= Move to schedule 2 drug and fully supports medicinal use State by state for recreation.
Donald Trump= 100% Medically and State by state.
Ted Cruz= Believes in States rights to make their decisions on marijuana.
Marco Rubio= Supports medical marijuana and has flip flopped on state by state for recreation.
John Kasich= Somewhat supports medical marijuana and supports state by state for recreation.
Jeb Bush= Supports states rights to make their decisions on marijuana.
Ben Carson= Favors rescheduling marijuana to schedule 2 and would shut down state by state for recreation.
Only Ben Carson (Who is at the bottom of the polls and is likely the next to suspend his campaign) would shut down recreational marijuana.
About half the states have a medical marijuana policy with more on the way.
s for recreational use there could be 12 states with it on the ballot with Vermont and Rhode Island likely to pass it through the state legislator. Public support also is quickly changing with more and more people supporting full legalization.
As for public opinion on medicinal use that number is at about 80% and quickly rising.
Additionally if a major organization such as Major League Baseball comes out in support of marijuana it will be seen as good press especially to the demographic 65+ which has the biggest opposition to marijuana legalization.
Meanwhile younger demographics express tremendous support for marijuana legalization.
Implementation would likely be relatively easy and is a small bargaining chip for Manfred. It doesn’t affect the owners bottom line nor anything regarding player contracts.
The MLBPA would most likely want any fines for marijuana to be gone and could support scrapping the minor league policy as well.
I am doubtful that there would be nearly any opposition with the exception of alcohol sponsors as marijuana could potentially eat into their market.
Saying that it is extremely unlikely any alcohol sponsors would back away if MLB changes its policy.
Additionally there could be marijuana products that could look to be sponsors to MLB ranging from equipment companies to the actual Marijuana companies.
MLB will also likely see some star players speak out in support of the new policy to get rid of any penalties for marijuana use.
The point of this article isn’t to turn people into potheads but to implement sensible policy so that a top prospect won’t lose development time for doing something that harms nobody or could possibly help replace pills.
If MLB acts on this I would be shocked if other leagues don’t follow suit.
Thank you for taking your time to read this and lets hope MLB makes an obviously sensible decision to scrap their marijuana policy and the one in the minor leagues. Don’t be afraid to post a comment.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
A Big thanks goes out to our ‘Part-Owner/featured writer’ Jordan Gluck for preparing today’s feature post. Jordan is a Junior at The University Of Minnesota and hopes to become a Front Office Personnel/GM one day with an MLB club.
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Posted on February 13, 2016, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged 2016 CBA, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Ben Carson, Bernie Sanders, brad lidge, bryce harper, Cannabidiol, chicago bears, Donald Trump, giancarlo stanton, Hillary Clinton, JDA agreement MLB, Jeb Bush, jered weaver, Jim McMahon, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Marijuana legalization, Mike Trout, mlbpa, nfl, Oxycontin, peds, rob manfred, Snopp Dogg, Ted Cruz, Toradol studies, Willy Nelson, Yahoo sports article 4;20. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.