Weed Day 2024 And How The Legalization Of Marijuana Impacts Sports Leagues

Don Nelson
Don Nelson, Basketball Hall of Fame member, grows cannabis called "Nellie Kush"

Sports owners and players are fine with legalized pot.

April 20th is a significant day to marijuana users. It is “Weed Day”. The origins go back to the 1970s. The medical marijuana bill that was passed in California was known as SB 420. How the numbers 4 and 2 along with zero became a code for marijuana as in 420 friendly is shrouded in deep mystery. North American sports leagues and players’ unions have changed their marijuana policies because pot usage slowly is becoming decriminalized. The National Basketball Association stopped testing players for cannabis use and removed marijuana from its list of banned substances. Major League Baseball loosened players’ pot rules but players cannot show up to work high and players could end up in a drug treatment program. In 2022, Charlotte’s Web Holdings was named the “Official CBD of MLB” so Major League Baseball is making money from pot. Two MLB teams have had partnerships with cannabis companies.  The National Hockey League seemingly is fine with marijuana. The National Football League no longer suspends players for testing positive for pot. Major League Soccer seems to look at pot possession in a case-by-case basis. The NCAA loosened marijuana rules for ”student-athletes”. UCF and NASCAR have had cannabis marketing partnerships. In September 2022, the World Anti-Doping Agency announced that cannabis is a banned substance. WADA, which is partially funded by governments globally, claims to be an authority on all drugs.

American and Canadian culture has changed. On June 20th, 2018, Canada became the second country to legalize marijuana for recreational use. On October 17th, 2018 the legislation became law with Canada treating marijuana like alcohol in terms of limiting home production, distribution, consumption areas and sale times. Legalizing marijuana on a state by state or countrywide basis has forced the hand of sports leagues who will have to justify suspending players for taking pot.

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Evan can be reached at evan_weiner@hotmail.com