The NFL’s drug policy could be in for some major changes.
The new policy, which has been in the renegotiation process since 2011, will substantially raise the threshold for a positive marijuana test and reduce punishments for failing the test, sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
The source noted the NFL’s policy on marijuana is outdated, citing that the World Anti-Doping Agency — which has been adopted by nearly 600 sports organizations — has a higher threshold than the NFL’s current testing system.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon currently faces a one-year suspension after testing positive for marijuana. While a new drug policy wouldn’t affect Gordon’s pending suspension, it could significantly alter the discipline process and potentially reduce future punishments for players who commit similar transgressions.
Under the current system, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has the final say over all discipline matters. This has been a point of contention among members of the NFL Players Association, who want discipline appeals to go through an independent arbitrator under the new policy.
“(Goodell) wants to hold all the cards and he wants to be the judge, jury and executioner, and we’re not going to go for an un-American system like that,” NFLPA president Eric Winston told reporters last week.
According the report, the NFLPA also has expressed interest in studying the merits of the use of medical marijuana but hopes the sides can reach a deal in the meantime to make changes to the league’s outdated policy.
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