NFL expected to alter marijuana policy, per report

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL could increase the threshold required for positive marijuana tests and reduce the punishments for when they occur, according to a report.

The NFL is mulling changes to its drug policies, notably the threshold required for a positive marijuana test and the punishments for testing positive, according to a report from Dan Graziano of ESPN. The league's current drug policy was put in place along with the collective bargaining agreement in 2011, but many have advocated for reduced punishments for positive tests involving marijuana.

If and when the policy is changed, it will "significantly increase" the threshold required for a test to come back positive for marijuana, the report stated. The threshold seems to be an important sticking point. The report notes that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has a higher threshold for positive marijuana tests than the NFL.

The severity of the punishments handed down for positive tests can be significant. The most recent example is Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who has not officially been suspended by the NFL but could earn a season-long ban for testing positive for marijuana. If reports are true, Gordon will have failed his second drug test since joining the NFL in 2012. He was suspended two games last season for testing positive for a banned substance found in cough syrup.

The biggest obstacle to implementing changes to the NFL's drug policies is an agreement between players and the league on when to administer discipline. According to the report, the NFLPA has asked the NFL to have discipline appeals heard by an independent arbitrator in cases involving players found in violation of the policy by means other than testing or law violations.

As the drug policy stands, Roger Goodell has the final say in all discipline matters, which has thus far been a point of contention preventing a new drug policy from being enacted.

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