Why Professional Athletes Should be Allowed to Use Cannabis

Why Professional Athletes Should be Allowed to Use Cannabis

If you’ve been to a professional sporting event in the last century or so there is a likely chance that you’ve also encountered a beer-based, hot dog chunked vomit spewing “fan” acting like a jerk. It’s to be expected and unavoidable. There is nothing to be done except pray that a loudmouth doesn’t invade your section and ruin the event. Good luck with that.

A culture that romanticizes knocking back a few cold ones and better living through chemistry while demonizing the cannabis plant is hard to take seriously. Sportscasters, talk-radio hosts, Internet personalities and every other schmo with an opinion can’t help but drop into a Jeff Spicolli impersonation when commenting on some athlete who has been suspended after providing urine with an inappropriate level of THC metabolites as set forth by a collective bargaining agreement. It’s predictable and unimaginative.

The crop of on-air talent is getting hotter, younger and more liberal by the hour but their thoughts are stagnated. Participation trophies still on display at their parents’ homes have encouraged their voices to be loud and opinionated but stifled critical thinking and analysis. Pandering to a crowd is one thing but being uninformed removes credibility.

Unsurprisingly, the four major American sports leagues (Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and National Football League) wholeheartedly support lucrative marketing deals with official beer sponsors while imposing harsh penalties on players for using cannabis. The institutional view that ganja has no place in sports is supported not by fact but rather draconian principles, endorsement dollars and television broadcasting rights.

The NFL and its leadership is particularly dense and grossly incompetent when it comes to the matter of marijuana policy. The same rich white ownership and management of the league that deny the impact of concussions and force feed opiates to their employees making sure they can go to work on Sunday’s earnestly believe that a player who kills a pedestrian while white girl wasted deserves a lesser suspension than a player that uses cannabis.

Let that sink in.

You can kill somebody and spend 30 days behind bars then only get suspended for one year then be welcomed back to work like nothing happened but if a player smokes weed on the regular it’s possible they won’t be allowed to play for three years. Players punished for cannabis consumption have drawn stiffer penalties and more residual pushback than those involved in sexual assault accusations, domestic violence cases, child abuse scandals and dogfighting rings. These are troubling precedents being set.

There is no shortage of former professional athletes speaking out on the benefits of cannabis. Eugene Monroe, Kyle Turley and Ricky Williams all former NFL players have been making the rounds on the cannabis conference circuit lately while WWE Hall of Famer Charles Wright aka Papa Shango aka The GodFather floods his Instagram with dab videos advocating the benefits of cannabis. Stephen Jackson smoked herb pregame before lacing them against Lebron, Dirk and the Black Mamba and averaged 15 points per game over the course of his career. Even a couple of the rich white owners of NFL franchises are moving towards a more reasonable approach for dealing with cannabis use.

For fans there is little recourse to take against the slights perpetuated and enforced by the suits that enjoy our hard earned dollars—which pay salaries, build stadiums and line the pockets of owners and strategic partners. Sticking it to them in little ways is all we can hope for. Every dab taken in a stadium bathroom and or joint roasted in the upper decks is a small victory on the way to acceptance.

Colorado Cannabis Companies Vie for Broncos Stadium Naming Rights

Colorado Cannabis Companies Vie for Broncos Stadium Naming Rights

Image via O.penVAPE

The Mile High Stadium and home to this year’s Super Bowl champions may soon take on its state’s marijuana identity. Since Sports Authority went bankrupt in March, the sporting goods company has been forced to liquidate then close all its stores and assets–including its naming rights to the Broncos home field.

At least two major Colorado cannabis companies, O.penVAPE and Native Roots, have both purportedly bid approximately $6 million annually for the naming rights of Sports Authority Field at Mile High. But according to The Denver Postthe stadium’s only letter of interest for the naming rights thus far has come from O.penVAPE.

The two players vying for the title are two of Colorado’s most prominent cannabis businesses. O.pen VAPE manufactures and distributes disposable vaporizer cartridges and pens, while Native Roots has 16 medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state.

Both companies have been outspoken about their desire to make the Mile High Stadium go up in smoke. O.penVAPE recently issued a press release stating its desire to own the stadium’s naming rights to promote the company’s non-psychoactive CBD (cannabidiol) products. O.Pen’s recent push even includes a video that shows what the stadium would look like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wd9NLsyFSwk

O.penVAPE’s proposed deal might even eclipse that $6 million a year figure and would run through the 2021 NFL season. Meanwhile, Native Roots has been speaking to the media about its transparent desire for over two months now and certainly presents stiff competition–if the company officially enters the fray.

If there’s one certainty at hand in this situation, it’s that both of these companies have the funds to make this deal happen. But whether or not the Broncos and the NFL would ever let this type of deal happen remains to be seen.

Moreover, it’s unclear what naming rights competition either company faces from other Colorado companies and whether Sports Authority or the Broncos organization will make the ultimate decision. Despite failing to make its quarterly payments to the Broncos, Sports Authority still owns the stadium’s naming rights and therefore could be at the helm of the naming-rights sale.

However, to combat this possibly, the Broncos have filed a motion to try to prevent Sports Authority from selling or auctioning its naming rights. Sports Authority plans to sell this right on June 23, so this important decision currently looms over the Broncos and Mile High stadium’s future.

Of course, o.PenVAPE’s plan could very well amount to nothing. The NFL has stated that naming-rights agreements “can’t violate any NFL rule or policy” and may not be associated with tobacco companies or products. Considering cannabis remains a banned substance and its consumption results in suspensions for players, it’s unlikely this pipe dream becomes a reality.

But when the NFL’s antiquated stance on medical marijuana use in the league ultimately and inevitably does change, marijuana companies with deep pockets will certainly step into the fray alongside alcohol companies.

Bernie Canter

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