In a move that doesn’t feel that surprising when you look at the MLB’s track record with cannabis, Major League Baseball has announced that it will allow for its teams to be sponsored by CBD companies – provided the companies are willing to jump through a certain amount of hoops. The most notable being that the company’s products are tested and approved by National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International to ensure that the products do not obtain any psychoactive levels of THC.
Be Progressive. Be, Be, Progressive
The move towards CBD sponsorship is not a surprising one when it comes to the MLB. The organization has been one of, if not the most, progressive sports organization when it comes to cannabis consumption. It was in 2019 that the MLB removed cannabis from their banned substance list, a result of lengthy negotiations conducted by the player’s union.
Even before the organization removed cannabis from the ban list, the MLB stance on substance use was one that focused on reform versus punishment. Players were offered ‘treatment’ for the and were only penalized ($35,000) if they refused to take part in the treatment – and not just for cannabis. The same rules applied when it came to cocaine or opioid use as well.
If the justice system could just follow in the MLB’s footsteps… but that’s a story for another time.
While MLB is the most progressive when it comes to its cannabis policies, it seems like major sports leagues around the country are beginning, in some way, to follow suit. Which means this move by MLB to open the door to CBD sponsorships could act as another stepping stone for the rest of the sports world to utilize.
One Small Step For Can’t, One Giant Leap For Cannabis
The rules are beginning to change when it comes to the consumption of–let’s just say a less than legal substance. At least when it comes to the attitudes of major sports.
In early 2020, the National Football League (NFL) announced a policy change that would effectively end suspensions for players who tested positive. Initially having only been focused on cannabis the policy ended up covering any form of illicit drugs.
Around the same time, the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced they would temporarily cease spur-of-the-moment drug testing for cannabis amid the Coronavirus. Though the policy was temporary, the NBA continued the policy through the seasons that have followed.
Most recently the progressive move towards the stigmatization of cannabis has extended to the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) who earlier this year announced that they would decrease the penalties for athletes found using cannabis, on top of raising the THC threshold for the testing from 35 to 150 nanograms
Between the slow but steady progression in major league sports, combined with the national conversation around cannabis in sports coming to a head over the Olympic suspension of sprinter and star Sha’Carri Richardson, there’s no doubt that the destigmatization will continue to increase.
While these policies are currently centered around athletics, we can only hope that the country itself follows suit when it comes to the regard of cannabis.
[featured image by Joey Kyber on Unsplash]
Chicana journalist, editor, educator, and organizer in Sacramento whose sole focus is to shed light on stories on our most impacted and marginalized communities, but even more importantly, for those stories to humanize those normally left out. She is an Ida B Wells Investigative Journalism Fellow 2022 Finalist, a member of the Parenting Journalists Society, and has bylines in The Courier, The Sacramento Bee, The Americano, Submerge Magazine among others.