By Jim Higdon, co-founder of Cornbread Hemp
Drug testing for THC in skilled sports activities is sort of lifeless, correctly — however not fairly. It nonetheless lurks within the corners like a zombie, able to assault anybody who factors at it. The NBA has ended random drug testing, but it surely nonetheless has a coverage in place for testing gamers “for trigger,” which retains these gamers from advocating for the total elimination of drug testing within the league.
The NBA rightly exams for performance-enhancing medicine that may give gamers an unfair edge, however THC will not be a performance-enhancing drug. The one purpose it’s banned in sports activities is due to a falsehood perpetrated by the federal authorities that hashish is without doubt one of the most harmful medicine on this planet. It isn’t.
For many years, sports activities leagues have finished the soiled work of hashish prohibition by insisting that THC is inconsistent with skilled athletics, when nothing may very well be farther from the reality. If the NBA imposed a zero-tolerance coverage for hashish use as we speak, there wouldn’t be sufficient gamers for a full recreation.
Some latest estimates recommend that as many as 85% of NBA gamers use hashish, but the NBA nonetheless perpetuates the charade that it runs a THC-free office. It doesn’t.
Everybody is aware of this. However nonetheless, the leagues and gamers are locked in a perpetual dance of maintaining the looks of the THC ban, the place gamers have each attainable alternative to dodge the results of that ban, so long as they don’t converse out.
This wink-and-nod system has run its course. Authorized marijuana jurisdictions are now not the exception to the rule. They’re the dominant norm in America as we speak. Each group of each sports activities league relies in a metropolis with some type of authorized THC — even those who play in states with no authorized marijuana.
The Nationwide Soccer League has 32 groups. Of these, 14 play residence video games in a state with authorized leisure marijuana, 11 in states with medical marijuana, and 7 in states with no authorized marijuana — the Cowboys, the Texans, the Falcons, the Packers, the Colts, the Titans, and the Panthers.
Main League Baseball has 30 groups. Of these, 16 play residence video games in a state or province with authorized leisure marijuana, 10 in states with medical marijuana, and 4 in states with no authorized marijuana — the Brewers, the Braves, the Rangers, and the Astros.
The Nationwide Basketball Affiliation has 30 groups. Of these, 14 play residence video games in a state or province with authorized leisure marijuana, eight in states with medical marijuana, and eight in states with no authorized marijuana — the Bucks, the Hornets, the Mavericks, the Spurs, the Rockets, the Hawks, the Grizzlies, and the Pacers.
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The Nationwide Hockey League has the best publicity to authorized hashish of any league due to the variety of groups enjoying residence video games in Canada, the place hashish is absolutely authorized. Of the 32 groups within the NHL, 22 play residence video games in a state or province with authorized leisure marijuana, seven in states with medical marijuana, and solely three in states with no authorized marijuana — the Hurricanes, the Stars, and the Predators.
However right here’s the factor: even within the 14 states with no authorized marijuana, THC remains to be authorized if it’s derived from hemp. It’s been that approach ever because the passage of the 2018 Farm Invoice. So long as the THC comes from the hemp plant with not more than 0.3% THC and is made into merchandise that additionally don’t exceed 0.3% THC, then that THC is authorized.
And whereas 0.3% doesn’t sound like a lot THC, it’s sufficient to indicate up on a drug check, and that threatens the job safety of any employee topic to THC drug testing. That’s not proper as a result of hemp-derived THC is authorized beneath federal regulation — even for the gamers of the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Hawks, that are primarily based in states with no authorized marijuana.
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No employee in America ought to face penalties for testing optimistic for a authorized substance used outdoors of the office. And it’s not simply skilled athletes residing beneath this hypocritical cloud. Hundreds of thousands of Individuals, from nurses to truck drivers, are afraid of shedding their jobs in the event that they check optimistic for THC after utilizing authorized hemp merchandise.
At Cornbread Hemp, our mission is to enhance our prospects’ high quality of life. And these outdated drug check insurance policies towards THC are obstacles to that mission. Consequently, we’re doing all the things in our energy to teach and advocate for ending THC testing within the office, starting with skilled sports activities.
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We will now not mislead ourselves about THC. It’s as generally used as ibuprofen, perhaps extra so. Sustaining the fiction that skilled sports activities are THC-free is simply an act of denial that we will now not afford.
It’s long gone time for sports activities leagues to acknowledge that their gamers use THC in methods that don’t have an effect on their office efficiency, as an alternative of demanding that their gamers stay silent in order that the league can proceed its drug testing charade. It’s time to finish THC drug testing in skilled sports activities.
Jim Higdon is co-founder of Cornbread Hemp. He’s a local of Kentucky, and holds levels from Centre Faculty, Brown College, and Columbia College. Jim printed Cornbread Mafia in 2012, which led to a journalism profession protecting Kentucky for the Washington Submit and hashish coverage for POLITICO.