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SF Giants First Round Pick Tested Positive for Marijuana Before Draft

SF Giants First Round Pick Tested Positive for Marijuana Before Draft

Phil Bickford, the 27th ranked prospect by Baseball America and 2015 first round MLB Draft pick of the San Francisco Giants, tested positive for marijuana before the draft.

A pre-draft medical program is held every year in Major League Baseball. This program includes a random drug test within the 30 day period before the draft, and all of the prospects listed in the top 200 by the Major League Scouting Bureau participate. If prospects choose not to submit to the test, they are ineligible to be drafted.

Bickford recently enjoyed a very successful season pitching for the JC of Southern Nevada, in a state where medical cannabis is legal, and where recreational could soon be available as well.

Although Bickford was drafted by an organization located in California, where medical cannabis is legalized, MLB prohibits marijuana usage by its players. The league’s policy is known for being much more lenient than other professional sports leagues, such as the NFL. After a positive first test, players must submit to further testing, but the MLB collective bargaining agreement features an exception for cannabis that differentiates it from other performance-enhancing and hard drugs.

While Major League Baseball will not test active players, it will enforce random tests for players not on 40-man rosters. A player will be placed in a drug treatment program after the first positive test, and any following failed tests will result in a suspension.

Bickford had been drafted tenth overall in the 2014 draft but chose to continue playing collegiately for one more season. If teams did in fact choose to pass on Bickford for one instance of marijuana use, it seems that the Giants wound up with a draft day steal.
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photo credit: throughthefencebaseball

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