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Roger Goodell, DeMaurice Smith do not see relaxation of medical marijuana rules anytime soon

SAN FRANCISCO -- The issue of medical marijuana has become more significant across America over the past 17 years, but the NFL appears to be no closer to giving it serious consideration as an alternative for pain reduction. Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith both side-stepped the issue during their respective Super Bowl week press conferences.

Goodell was asked about it on Friday, and he said the league's doctors have discussed it in the past, and believe the research suggests they should continue with the current ban on marijuana in any capacity. Goodell said he did not foresee any change in that policy, at least in the short term.

On Thursday, Smith addressed the media. I asked him if the NFLPA would consider investing in research on medical marijuana. Smith said they would not do that, but rather would consider the existing research. He left it at that, indicating this is not a priority.

Earlier this month, Doug Farrar wrote about various studies that have pointed to the health benefits of medical marijuana. He spoke with former NFL player Kyle Turley about how medical marijuana changed his life for the better. Six months ago, Mike Freeman spoke with former NFL running back Jamal Anderson and 16 current players who wanted to remain anonymous. They all said many of their teammates smoke marijuana three or four times a week, and most agreed that a large number of players are likely smoking marijuana.

The American Medical Association still does not recommend marijuana for medical use, but more and more research is suggesting there is value for a variety of ailments. Given the NFL's numerous health issues, one would think the league would be open to any and all options to improve the wellbeing of their players.


Yep, I somehow managed to get that out without laughing.

The league remains incredibly backwards thinking on a variety of health issues. Since 1998, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. Additionally, legal marijuana sales reached $5.4 billion this past year, with four states and the District of Columbia legalizing it in small amounts. It is a slow process for the country as a whole. The NFL and its doctors spent years denying the issues surrounding concussions, so I can't imagine they will be forward-thinking on the issue of medical marijuana.