Over the past two days, the Southwest Cannabis Conference and Expo has been taking place in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. While a number of different cannabis-related organizations and speakers have been in attendance, one of the more talked about parts of the conference is the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition.
As a group created to push for the NFL to make medical marijuana legal as a form of treatment for players, four members of the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition will be giving a special presentation in support of giving cannabis a place in the National Football League.
The board of former players who presented at the conference includes Ricky Williams, Kyle Turley, Nate Jackson and Eben Britton. The speech will focus on how cannabis helped them throughout their playing careers with chronic pain, head injuries and other serious ailments. Turley, a former offensive lineman for the New Orleans Saints, spoke prior to the conference about his feelings on cannabis and its place in the NFL,
“There’s nothing that’s going to change about this sport as far as injuries are concerned. What needs to change is how we address the injuries and the medications to treat them.”
In a league notorious for avid use of pain killers and the problems that can follow steady usage, Turley claims that once he turned to using only medical marijuana to treat pain it saved his life. His own personal revelation of the benefits that cannabis can provide to himself and all other players in the league struggling with injuries, led him to speak at the Southwest Cannabis Conference and Expo. Turley explained,
“We’re here to fight for this, for medicine for us, not only for our kidneys and our livers, but for our minds.”
At the moment, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said that the league will “follow the science” which at the moment, doesn’t provide enough medical evidence that marijuana is a better alternative to the current medications. Cannabis research has been stifled in the United States for years due to its Schedule I status. While much of the evidence of the medicinal value of cannabis has been anecdotal, there are enough studies showing the plant to be a viable alternative to pharmaceutical pain killers.
Turley said that he hopes the NFL will begin taking a harder look at allowing marijuana in football and possibly change its stance on the issue,
“To keep football going and have these little kids put pads and helmets on, they need to start looking about this in a very serious way.”
For now, Turley and other former players will continue to fight for medical marijuana to be accepted among those in the NFL.
photo credit: Gridiron Cannabis Coalition