michigan marijuana legalization campaign

Uncle Cliffy Commends The Michigan Cannabis Legalization Effort

Clifford Robinson played for the Detroit Pistons from 2001 to 2003. Michigan has always been one of Cliff’s favorite places, with Cliff having lived in Michigan well after his playing days there were over. Michigan is an amazing state, but unfortunately has been living under cannabis prohibition for quite some time now. As is the case everywhere that cannabis prohibition exists, cannabis prohibition has failed in the state of Michigan.

Cannabis arrests make up almost 1 out of every 10 arrests in Michigan, with African Americans being four times as likely to be arrested for cannabis compared to Caucasians. The court costs of enforcing cannabis prohibition in Michigan on people that are caught with a personal amount (excludes arrests for large scale trafficking, large possession, incarceration, etc.) is a staggering $64,000,000 annually. These are some of the many reasons that cannabis needs to be legalized in Michigan.

Fortunately there is an effort underway to end cannabis prohibition in Michigan in 2018, and the campaign is picking up momentum. Yesterday the campaign announced that it would cross the 200,000 signature mark this week, putting the campaign over halfway towards their signature goal. The Uncle Cliffy team would like to commend the Michigan legalization campaign on its hard work, and we look forward to supporting the campaign as we move towards Election Day 2018. Below is a press release about the campaign’s milestone achievement. Go get ’em Michigan!

Whoa, we’re halfway there

Actually, we’re more than halfway there. This week, we will pass the 200,000-signature mark – meaning we’re well on our way to reaching our goal of collecting 366,000 signatures. 252,523 of these signatures need to be validated to get on the ballot in 2018 and end cannabis prohibition once and for all!

With your help, we can keep printing and distributing petitions throughout the summer and continue paying for professional signature collectors to ensure the job gets done.

And if our proposal to end marijuana prohibition is approved by voters, Michigan would become a national leader in cannabis reform by:

  • allowing personal possession, cultivation and use of cannabis for adults 21 and older;
  • legalizing the cultivation of industrial hemp;
  • licensing cannabis businesses that cultivate, process, test, transport and sell marijuana;
  • protecting consumers with proper testing and safety regulations for retail cannabis; and
  • taxing cannabis at retail levels with a 10 percent excise tax and six percent sales tax, which will support K-12 public schools, roads and local governments.

We’re livin’ on a prayer – and in the immortal words of Bon Jovi, “Take my hand and we’ll make it, I swear!” Will you take our hand and ensure we have the resources we need to reach our goal by donating $25, $50 or $100 today?

Source: Michigan legalization campaign

nba marijuana cannabis

Report: Adam Silver Says NBA Is Open To Medical Cannabis Reform

Last month NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stated that cannabis would remain prohibited in the league. Commissioner Silver commented on the status of cannabis policy in the NBA during an interview with Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum. Below are Adam Silver’s comments from the July interview, per NBA.com:

“I don’t see the need for any changes right now. It’s legal in certain states, but as you know, our players are constantly traveling and it might be a bit of a trap to say we’re going to legalize it in these states but no, it’s illegal in other states and have players get in a position where they’re traveling with marijuana and getting in trouble.”

The threshold for the NBA’s cannabis test is very strict – 15 ng/mL of THC metabolites. To put that into perspective, Olympic athletes are held to a standard of 150 ng/mL, ten times the limit of the NBA. The NBA’s cannabis testing policy has zero exceptions. All cannabis use is prohibited, even when the use is for medical purposes, and even when the use occurs in a state where adult-use is legal.

Commissioner Adam Silver has historically made it clear that the league will keep the status quo in place for the foreseeable future. For instance in 2014 Mr. Silver stated that the league was ‘more concerned about HGH‘ than cannabis, but that the league felt strongly that cannabis would affect players’ performance on the court. No evidence was provided at the time (or since) to back up the league’s anti-cannabis stance.

Knowing Adam Silver’s hard line stance against cannabis, it was surprising for the Uncle Cliffy team to read a report claiming that Commissioner Silver recently expressed an openness to exploring the idea of allowing league players to consume cannabis for medical purposes. According to Slam Online and other online reports, Adam Silver reportedly made the following comments while visiting Israel as part of the Basketball Without Borders program:

“I would say it’s something we will look at. I’m very interested in the science when it comes to medical marijuana. My personal view is that it should be regulated in the same way that other medications are if the plan is to use it for pain management. And it’s something that needs to be discussed with our Players Association, but to the extent that science demonstrates that there are effective uses for medical reasons, we’ll be open to it. Hopefully there’s not as much pain involved in our sport as some others, so there’s not as much need for it.”

The report cites a Reddit post as the source for comments. Given the NBA’s history of a zero-exception cannabis policy, and Adam Silver’s recent comments continuing to oppose cannabis reform in the NBA, the Uncle Cliffy team is taking the report with a grain of salt until the NBA confirms that the Commissioner actually made the comments. We are definitely hopeful that it’s the case, but inquiries by the Uncle Cliffy team to the NBA about the comments have so far gone unanswered.

If the report is indeed true, it would be very encouraging for reform efforts in the NBA, and for reform efforts in other leagues that prohibit cannabis. However, the Uncle Cliffy team feels that such a move should be seen as a good step in the right direction, and not a ‘permanent fix’ to the NBA’s cannabis policy. Medical cannabis reform would help some players, but would still lead to other players being targeted, players that live in prohibition states being left out, and the league still perpetuating institutional racism by punishing players that are caught with cannabis by law enforcement away from the team. This is a situation that the Uncle Cliffy team will be keeping a close eye on, and will make sure to post an updated article if/when more information becomes available.

Ryan O'Callaghan marijuana cannabis

Ryan O’Callaghan Joins List Of NFL Players Demanding Cannabis Reform

The list of current and retired NFL players that have come out in support of cannabis reform continues to expand. The latest retired NFL player to add his name to that list is Ryan O’Callaghan. O’Callaghan played offensive line for the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs. Mr. O’Callaghan had the following to say, according to CBS Sports:

“For people like me, marijuana is a godsend because you don’t want to take these pills.”

Below is a list that the Uncle Cliffy team has compiled of current and retired NFL players who have expressed support for cannabis reform in the league. The list also includes other members of the NFL community:

“I would like it to be like the other leagues and not test. It’s not a performance enhancing drug.” – NFL Coach Bruce Arians (Arizona Cardinals), referring to cannabis in a recent interview on CBS Sports Radio

“If you were hurting, then you could get ’em, you know. It was nothing. I mean, if you needed Vicodin, call out, ‘My ankle hurt,’ you know.” – retired NFL player Calvin Johnson, referring to painkiller availability in the NFL during an ESPN interview

“I think Jerry’s opinion, my opinion, is this program, this system has been in place for a long time. I think it needs to be heavily scrutinized in terms of its results.” – Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said about cannabis testing in the NFL in an interview with PFT Live

“If you look at Roger Goodell, every time he’s asked about (the marijuana issue) he always says, ‘We’re taking recommendations of our medical doctors.’ Well Roger, we don’t want to follow the science. We want you to lead the science.” – retired NFL player Marvin Washington in an interview with NY Daily News

“I will tell you this, if it ever comes to a point where I do need pain management, I’d feel very lucky and happy now that we have medicinal marijuana in Pennsylvania.” – NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“I will never stop pushing for the League to accept medical cannabis as a viable option for pain management.” – NFL player Eugene Monroe, via Twitter

““We make so many sacrifices, and we put our body and mind through so much that you look for holistic ways to alleviate some of those issues. This is one that I found that helps me.”- retired NFL cornerback Lito Sheppard in an interview with Philly.com

“If we want to save football, then we’ve got to start looking at solutions, not just count concussions. Cannabis is that potential savior.” – retired NFL player Kyle Turley, in an interview with Freedom Leaf

“How do we do it in society right now? How does that affect the way a player sees his situation in that lens?’ And then make decisions based on that.” – Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said about cannabis testing reform in the NFL in an interview with PFT Live

“Marijuana’s already keeping the game afloat. Roughly half of those guys are already using it every week. They have to keep it a secret, though. If they get caught they get fined or suspended. It’s a really uncompassionate stance to take.” – retired NFL player Nate Jackson, via an interview with The Guardian

“The NFL is reviewing its position on medical marijuana. They’re really reviewing their whole pain management regimen and how those things are handled, but if you don’t mind me giving you my personal feeling (why the hell would I mind?), I feel in any state that has approved medical marijuana (as 28 states hosting 20 of the NFL’s 32 teams have), the league should remove medical marijuana from being a banned substance.” – NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“If the NFL got behind this, this would go a long way to breaking down the walls and barriers that are there. Not only in society, but in sports leagues. I know marijuana is not the problem in the NFL. I know what the problem is — it’s concussions and opiate addiction.” – retired NFL player Marvin Washington in an interview with NY Daily News

“I’ve never had any side effects from smoking herb or even the edibles….It’s a medicinal herb. It’s not a drug. When we get over the stigma of that, I think we’ll be better off in this country.” – retired NFL player Jim McMahon, at the Southwest Cannabis Conference and Expo

“What happens is we love to take care of the players when they’re playing. But when we get done and after the five years of insurance runs out, these guys are strung out.” – retired NFL player Jake Plummer, in an interview with Fox Sports

“I will do everything I can to ensure the generations of NFL players after me won’t have to resort to harmful and addictive opioids as their only option for pain management.” – NFL player Eugene Monroe, via Twitter

“I’ve talked to a number of people and I know there have been studies that show the science behind medical marijuana in relation to pain management. I’ve talked to people who’ve been in pain due to falling off a roof or being in a car accident and they have praised medical marijuana and how it helped them. The science is there to support its benefits with seizures, epilepsy, a lot of different conditions. It’s not addictive and, to me, this is just one of the most important things we can do for people.” – NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“My experience with cannabis has taught me that it is a far better option than the pills that get shoved at players .” – retired NFL player Boo Williams, during an interview with NBC Sports

“There is no excuse for us to say we don’t know enough anymore about a plant that has grown from the ground for thousands of years and used as medicine around the world.” – retired NFL player Kyle Turley, in an interview on ESPN

“I know medicinal marijuana has been a Godsend for me. With my chronic pain, all my surgeries I’ve had. The arthritis. It’s getting me through the day. I would hope the governor would get on board with this. It’s helped so many people: epileptics, cancer patients… It helps me every day. I feel a heck of a lot better than when I had to take all those pain pills.” – retired NFL player Jim McMahon, per MLB Reports

“Pain every day is not good, not a good quality of life, so pain management is very important. I would put it this way. I know the league is starting to have more open discussion on this at this time. And I know what a big step for them. It’s not something they take lightly. I like that it’s open to discussion. I’m hoping that they realize that pain management is very important to current and past players and if past players are going to be involved with medical marijuana and that it’s legal, I don’t see why current players shouldn’t.” – NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post Gazette

“I want to change the stigma of this plant. I know it can help.” – retired NFL player Marvin Washington in an interview with NY Daily News

“Current NFL policy does not allow for every potential option in mitigating pain. The NFL says it’s doing everything it can. It’s not.” – NFL player Eugene Monroe, during an interview with Sports Illustrated

“I feel like the NFL has a responsibility to look into it, to delegate time and money to research this for its players. Given how much influence that the NFL has on society, I think it would help the greater good. There’s a lot of people suffering and a lot of people that can benefit from cannabis as a medical treatment.” – NFL player Derrick Morgan, in an interview with Yahoo Global News

“It’s about not only us, but former players, future players and more so society as a whole.” – NFL player Derrick Morgan, speaking about cannabis research in an interview with Yahoo Global News

“I think the NFL just needs to loosen up the rules and let everybody live.” – retired NFL player Randy Moss, when asked by Talking Football whether he supported removing cannabis from the NFL’s banned substance list

image via Wikipedia

jerry jones dallas cowboys marijuana cannabis

Jerry Jones Agrees That The NFL Should Research Benefits Of Cannabis

At the beginning of this year the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) announced that it would be proposing a ‘less punitive’ NFL cannabis policy. Details of exactly what that would look like have still yet to surface. That announcement has since been followed by an announcement earlier this month that the National Football League (NFL) has expressed an interest in working with the NFLPA to explore the idea of allowing medical cannabis use for pain management. Per the Washington Post:

The NFL has written to the NFL Players Association offering to work in tandem to study the potential use of marijuana as a pain management tool for players, according to people familiar with the situation.

It is the clearest indication to this point that the league may be willing to work cooperatively with the union toward such marijuana use, which is currently banned by the sport.

The NFLPA is conducting its own study and, according to those familiar with the deliberations, is yet to respond to the NFL’s offer to cooperate on marijuana-related research.

The Uncle Cliffy team endorsed the idea of medical cannabis legalization in the NFL at the time of both announcements, but made sure to make it clear that such a league policy change should be seen as a step in the right direction, and not as a permanent solution. If only medical cannabis use were to be allowed by the NFL, it would not eliminate the institutional racism that is perpetuated by the NFL’s current policy of suspending players when they are arrested for cannabis. Highlighting the issue is the case of Green Bay Packers receiver Geronimo Allison, who was suspended by the NFL after cannabis was found in his car by law enforcement during a traffic stop away from the team.

Nationally, African Americans are almost four times as likely to be arrested for cannabis compared to Caucasians, even though consumption rates are relatively the same between races. In Wisconsin, African Americans are six times as likely to be arrested for cannabis. So if an African American NFL player (such as Geronimo Allison) is six times as likely to be arrested for cannabis off the field, then they are also six times as likely to be suspended by the NFL because of cannabis. Allowing medical cannabis use in the NFL would not fix that issue.

With that being said, the Uncle Cliffy team still supports what the NFL is doing and hopes that it results in some meaningful results. Allowing players to use cannabis for pain management is an outstanding improvement on the current NFL cannabis policy. The always outspoken owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, also supports what the NFL is doing, per an article by NBC Sports:

“I agree with what the NFL is doing,” Jones said in his Hall of Fame press conference. “There is real fertile ground there. It is a labor issue that like several things, not just that one, I understand the sensitivity about that particular issue. A lot of people would disagree it’s a labor issue, but that’s the way these things work. A lot of things get thrown in that hat. The fact we’re discussing it, it’s no secret the Players Association have wanted to discuss that area and do better in that area.

“I think that’s accurate that we should have it as something to improve on. The problem I’m having here is I do not know what is the definition of improvement, but we can all do better here.”

Jerry Jones did not want to go into the particulars of what an NFL policy should look like in an ideal situation, but the Uncle Cliffy team thinks that the solution is clear – free the plant. The Uncle Cliffy team has been calling for, and will continue calling for, a complete end to cannabis prohibition in the NFL. Cannabis is safer than alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs, substances which the NFL widely embraces. Cannabis is legal for adult-use in eight states and Washington D.C., and will soon be legal in many more states.

It’s time that the NFL looked at the facts and allowed science and compassion determine the league’s cannabis policy, and not outdated political views. Cannabis prohibition is harmful, both in society and in professional sports. The Uncle Cliffy team would like to (again) give a big hat tip to Jerry Jones for speaking out in support of this important issue.

image via NBC

kyle turley marijuana cannabis nfl

Retired NFL Player Endorses Missouri Medical Cannabis Campaign

My name is Kyle Turley, and medical cannabis saved my life. I played eight seasons in the NFL and two seasons each with both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Saint Louis Rams. I have since moved to California, where I have safe, legal access to the medicine I need.

But Missouri remains a special place to me, and I know patients there deserve the same medical options I now enjoy. That is why I am writing you today in support of the New Approach Missouri medical cannabis initiative.

I was first given opioid painkillers in 1996 while still in college at San Diego State. In the NFL, narcotics were given out like candy to keep players like me on the field despite significant injuries, and I soon found myself hooked.

The pills numbed the pain, but they did nothing for the psychological problems brought on by repeated head trauma. In fact, the pharmaceuticals made it worse! I started experiencing bouts of depression, anxiety, and anger that I could not control. In 2009, my wife found me attempting to jump out of a three story window.

For years I struggled to find a way to control both my pain and neurological problems. Cannabis was what worked for me. It allowed me to live without both pain and the painkillers and start feeling positive about life again.

I began to research more about the science and policy of medical cannabis. For instance, I learned that states with medical cannabis laws experience a dramatic decline in opioid overdose deaths and that the federal government holds a patent on a cananbinoid that can be used as a neuro-protectant. Eventually, it all led me to found the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, which provides a space for football players who want to see cannabis recognized as a viable alternative to painkillers and psychiatric pharmaceuticals by both the government and the NFL.

And I know that there are tens of thousands of patients in Missouri right now, who are either unable to access medical cannabis or are treated as criminals for doing so. That is wrong, and the New Approach Missouri initiative will correct that injustice.

I hope you will join me in supporting this campaign by doing one or more of the following:

I know from my years playing football that no matter how good an idea or plan is, it won’t work unless everyone comes together as a team and plays their part. But regardless of what particular role you play, I hope you will join the team that brings medical cannabis to Missouri by signingvolunteering, and contributing today!

Sincerely,

Kyle Turley

Source: New Approach Missouri press release

cory booker marijuana cannabis

Senator Cory Booker Should Endorse Legalization In New Jersey

Cliff Robinson played for the New Jersey Nets (now the Brooklyn Nets) from 2005 to 2007. During his time in New Jersey Cliff saw firsthand the harms of cannabis prohibition in the state, which is why he has joined the effort to bring legalization to New Jersey. Prohibition does not work. That is true in professional sports leagues as well as in society, and cannabis prohibition in New Jersey is no exception.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker has been a champion for cannabis reform in Congress, and introduced a bill this week which would punish states that have cannabis laws in place that disproportionately impact minority communities. This is a bill that the Uncle Cliffy team endorses, and we encourage Uncle Cliffy fans to contact their Senators and urge them to support Mr. Booker’s bill.

We do feel that it is necessary to highlight, as veteran cannabis activist Tom Angell pointed out on Twitter, that Cory Booker’s own state of New Jersey would be penalized under the bill that Mr. Booker has introduced. So far Senator Booker has refrained from explicitly endorsing legalization in his state, which the Uncle Cliffy team feels is something that should change. Cliff Robinson and the Uncle Cliffy team would like to publicly urge Senator Booker to join the effort to end cannabis prohibition in New Jersey. Such a move would fall in line with Senator Booker’s views on reform at the federal level, and would provide a boost to the New Jersey legalization effort.

Cliff Robinson and the Uncle Cliffy team would like to thank Senator Booker for his ongoing efforts, and specifically his introduction of the ‘Marijuana Justice Act of 2017’ into Congress. More information about the bill can be found below, courtesy of a press release from the Minority Cannabis Business Association:

Minority Cannabis Business Association Endorses Booker’s ‘Marijuana Justice Act’

The ‘Marijuana Justice Act’ will reinvest $500 million in communities most impacted by the war on drugs by divesting in prisons and outdated law enforcement practices.

The bill ends the federal prohibition on marijuana, makes it easier to expunge past criminal charges, and stops deportations based solely on marijuana charges.

Washington, D.C – August 1, 2018 – The Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) announced its endorsement and full support for the ‘Marijuana Justice Act’, legislation introduced today by U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) that would end federal marijuana prohibition and reinvest in the communities most devastated by the war on drugs.

“This bill recognizes the consequences of the targeted war on drugs and outlines a plan to move our country forward by divesting in prisons and reinvesting in job training, reentry programs, legal clinics, public libraries and more.” Said Jesce Horton, cofounder and chairman of the Minority Cannabis Business Association. “We’re excited to support and endorse the “Marijuana Justice Act” and hope to keep seeing legislation like this at the state and local levels.”

“Ceasing the travesty that is the drug war, especially the disparate impact it has had on communities of color, has long needed a leader within our federal government to say enough is enough.” says Kayvan Khalatbari, Minority Cannabis Business Association Policy Chair and founder of Denver Relief Consulting. “I applaud Senator Booker for his determination in not just ending the war on drugs, but ensuring meaningful reinvestment in the lives and communities that have been decimated in its wake.”

“Ending federal marijuana prohibition would bring the law in line with the opinion of the growing majority of Americans who want states to be able to enact their own marijuana laws without harassment by the DEA.” said attorney Shaleen Title, a founding board member of the Minority Cannabis Business Association and founder of THC Staffing Group.

The Marijuana Justice Act would do the following:

Remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, ending federal prohibition of marijuana
Cut federal funding for state law enforcement and prison construction if a state disproportionately arrests and/or incarcerates low-income individuals and/or people of color for marijuana offenses
Allow entities to sue states that disproportionately arrest and/or incarcerate low-income individuals and/or people of color for marijuana offenses
Prevent deportations of individuals for marijuana offenses
Provide for a process of expungement for marijuana offenses at the federal level
Provide for a process of resentencing for marijuana offenses at the federal level
Create a “Community Reinvestment Fund” of $500m to invest in communities most impacted by the war on drugs, for programs such as job training, reentry, community centers, and more. Part of the funding will come from the aforementioned cuts to state law enforcement and prison construction.

In October of 2016 members of the Minority Cannabis Business Association held their first ever Policy Summit to draft a statewide model bill that would help guide lawmakers, advocates, and business owners in their pursuit to build a more racially just and equitable cannabis industry. You can find more information about MCBA’s model legislation on our website http://minoritycannabis.org/model-bill

About the Minority Cannabis Business Association

Founded in 2015, the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) is the first 501(c)(6) not for profit business league created to serve the specific needs of minority cannabis entrepreneurs, workers, and patients/consumers. The MCBA represents more than 700 minority owned businesses, entrepreneurs, and patients from across the United States. Its 12-member board of directors is comprised of a diverse group of medical and legal professionals, cannabis industry veterans, and social advocates from across the U.S. You can find more information about us at www.minoritycannabis.org.

nfl players association marijuana cannabis nflpa

NFL Offers To Work With NFLPA To Study Cannabis For Pain Management

In January the Uncle Cliffy team posted an article highlighting an announcement by the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) that it would be proposing a ‘less punitive’ NFL cannabis policy. Details of exactly what that would look like have yet to surface. Late yesterday the National Football League (NFL) expressed an interest in working with the NFLPA to explore the idea of allowing medical cannabis use for pain management. Per the Washington Post:

The NFL has written to the NFL Players Association offering to work in tandem to study the potential use of marijuana as a pain management tool for players, according to people familiar with the situation.

It is the clearest indication to this point that the league may be willing to work cooperatively with the union toward such marijuana use, which is currently banned by the sport.

The NFLPA is conducting its own study and, according to those familiar with the deliberations, is yet to respond to the NFL’s offer to cooperate on marijuana-related research.

This is a big departure from previous comments made by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. In April Mr. Goodell expressed a belief that cannabis has no medical value. That claim is of course false, which the Uncle Cliffy team was quick to point out.

“Commissioner Goodell’s comments aren’t just scientifically inaccurate, they are harmful to players.” Cliff Robinson said at the time of Roger Goodell’s anti-cannabis comments. “By denying cannabis’ medical value, Mr. Goodell negatively impacts the important conversation regarding medical cannabis and players in the NFL. Cannabis can help players that are battling brain injuries, chronic pain, and other conditions. But rather than work on a policy that is based on science and compassion for players, the Commissioner appears to want to continue to enforce a failed policy, and in the process, push players towards more harmful substances like opioid painkillers.”

The Uncle Cliffy team will be keeping a close eye on this story to see how it develops. With no details emerging thus far about what the NFL and NFLPA working in tandem to craft a ‘less punitive’ cannabis policy would look like, all we can do is sit and wait. We truly hope that the studies and conversations are meaningful and constructive, and that they lead to an improved NFL cannabis policy. It would be very disheartening if yesterday’s announcement by the league turned out to just be empty rhetoric.

An NFL cannabis policy that allows medical cannabis use would be a great step in the right direction, but would be an approach that would not go far enough in our opinion. As we pointed out in a previous article, anything short of a complete end to cannabis prohibition in the NFL would result in institutional racism continuing to be perpetuated by the league. Players like Geronimo Allison, who was recently caught with cannabis in a non-medical state, would still be punished by the league, despite the fact that Mr. Allison was the victim of a law that affects African Americans at six times the rate of Caucasians.

If an African American NFL player is 6 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis off the field, such as in Geronimo Allison’s case in Wisconsin, then that player is also 6 times as likely to be punished by the NFL for cannabis. An updated NFL cannabis policy needs to address that issue, which the current proposal would not do. The Uncle Cliffy team feels that the only way to do that is to end cannabis prohibition in the NFL altogether.

A medical-only approach to an NFL cannabis policy will still result in players of certain races being targeted off the field, and in the process, result in them having their NFL careers disproportionately impacted. It would likely also lead to unequal protections under the hypothetical NFL cannabis policy, with some players’ use being considered to be medical in nature, and others being labeled as ‘abuse.’ That’s a situation that NFL players should want to avoid by all means necessary.

image via Wikipedia

50 yard line nfl cannabis

The NFL Is Perpetuating Institutional Racism By Suspending Geronimo Allison

A lot of attention has been focused towards trying to get the National Football League (NFL) to allow players to use cannabis for medical purposes. It is an effort that is very worthwhile, and the Uncle Cliffy team absolutely supports such a league policy change. However, the Uncle Cliffy team also feels that such a policy change would no go far enough, and that cannabis prohibition should be ended in the NFL entirely, as well as in other professional sports leagues that prohibit cannabis use.

Even if the league allowed players to use cannabis for medical purposes, players could still be penalized by the league for cannabis, even if they were in full compliance with their state of residence’s medical cannabis program. Not all states recognize patients’ status as a legal medical cannabis patient. A player could be traveling, and get arrested in a prohibition state with the medical cannabis that they need to treat their condition(s).

A player in the scenario described above would not be in violation of a hypothetical NFL policy that allowed players to test positive for cannabis when they are in compliance with their state of residence’s medical cannabis laws. However, they would be in violation of the cannabis prohibition laws in the state in which they were arrested, which would then result in the player being punished by the league. The NFL, like most other professional sports leagues, penalizes players for getting arrested for cannabis, no matter the circumstances. The latest victim of that policy is Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison, who was recently suspended after being caught with a personal amount of cannabis in Wisconsin. Per Packers News:

Green Bay Packers receiver Geronimo Allison will serve a one-game suspension without pay for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy, the NFL announced Wednesday.

Allison was charged with a misdemeanor possession of marijuana in December after being pulled over for speeding on Interstate 43 near Francis Creek. He reached a settlement with prosecutors and will pay $330.50 with community service requirements. The charge was amended to an ordinance violation.

Regardless of if Geronimo Allison was a registered medical cannabis patient in a legal state or not, the fact of the matter is Mr. Allison was arrested for cannabis (which he maintains was not his) and so the league took action on him. In doing so, the NFL is perpetuating institutional racism. As the Uncle Cliffy team has pointed out before, cannabis prohibition enforcement has a disproportionate impact on the African American community. Nationally, African Americans are almost four times as likely to be arrested for cannabis compared to Caucasians, even though consumption rates are relatively the same between races. In Wisconsin, African Americans are six times as likely to be arrested for cannabis.

So if an African American NFL player (such as Geronimo Allison) is six times as likely to be arrested for cannabis off the field, then they are also six times as likely to be suspended by the NFL because of cannabis. There is no debating that fact, as the math clearly speaks for itself. What is happening to Geronimo Allison, and has happened to a number of other NFL players, is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. It should serve as an unfortunate example of why NFL players need to demand a complete end to cannabis prohibition in the league, and why athletes in other leagues should demand nothing short of the same thing.

“I feel bad for Geronimo Allison, and for his family who is also having to now deal with the stigma that goes along with being suspended from competition because of cannabis. I know firsthand what that feels like, and it’s nothing that I would ever want to wish upon anyone.  This young man did nothing wrong and didn’t harm anyone, so why is he being taken off of the field for having plant material in his car? He had plant material in his car that is safer than many substances that the NFL widely embraces. How is that fair? Hopefully he can move past this and focus on the upcoming season, but that will likely be harder now because of the stigma he is going to have to endure.” said Cliff Robinson.

basketball marijuana cannabis

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver: Cannabis To Remain Prohibited

Cannabis is currently prohibited in the National Basketball Association (NBA). NBA players are subjected to four random drug tests per year, and if they fail any of them, they are penalized. The threshold for the NBA’s cannabis test is very strict – a mere 15 ng/mL of THC metabolites. To put that into perspective, Olympic athletes are held to a standard of 150 ng/mL, a whopping ten times the limit of the NBA.

The NBA’s cannabis testing policy has zero exceptions. All cannabis use is prohibited, even when the use is for medical purposes, and even when the use occurs in a state where adult-use is legal. A big push has been underway in recent years, led by retired 18-year NBA veteran Cliff Robinson, to get the NBA to change its cannabis policy and get the league on the right side of history.

Commissioner Adam Silver has historically made it clear that the league will keep the status quo in place for the foreseeable future. For instance in 2014 Mr. Silver stated that the league was ‘more concerned about HGH‘ than cannabis, but that the league felt strongly that cannabis would affect players’ performance on the court. No evidence was provided to back up the league’s anti-cannabis stance.

It is quite possible that no valid evidence is out there to point to in order to bolster the claim that cannabis is bad for NBA players. On the other hand, there is quite a bit of evidence that cannabis can help NBA players who suffer from various health conditions and/or injuries. Cannabis is safer than pharmaceutical drugs, and in many cases, more effective.

Despite the numerous valid reasons for ending cannabis prohibition in the NBA, and the lack of solid reasons for keeping prohibition in place, Adam Silver recently doubled down in favor of continued cannabis prohibition in an interview with Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum. Per NBA.com:

“I don’t see the need for any changes right now. It’s legal in certain states, but as you know, our players are constantly traveling and it might be a bit of a trap to say we’re going to legalize it in these states but no, it’s illegal in other states and have players get in a position where they’re traveling with marijuana and getting in trouble.”

The Uncle Cliffy team agrees that a policy that allows use in some instances but not others would be confusing for players. However, we wholeheartedly disagree that the potential for confusion justifies keeping the current policy in place. The current policy lacks compassion for players. The current policy does not allow players to use cannabis for medical purposes, no matter how much the medicine helps the player. It also doesn’t recognize the fact that adults can now legally consume cannabis in eight states and Washington D.C. for recreational purposes.

Every NBA team is located in a state that has at least passed CBD-specific legislation, which is a more progressive approach than the league’s current policy. Polling shows that fans support allowing players to use cannabis. Cannabis is 114 times safer than alcohol, a substance that the NBA widely embraces. Why is the NBA clinging to such a failed, harmful policy?

“It was frustrating and disheartening to hear that Commissioner Silver and the NBA have no plans to change the league’s outdated policy. What is the risk in allowing players to make the safer choice? Prohibition is harming players and the teams that they play on by keeping players off the court. Taking players off the court ultimately harms the league itself. Players should only be penalized when it’s justified. Who are the players harming when they use cannabis? With cannabis being safer than alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs, the NBA’s continued prohibition of cannabis is obviously hypocritical and unacceptable. It’s time for a more sensible approach.” said Cliff Robinson.

bruce arians marijuana cannabis

Coach Bruce Arians Wants The NFL To Drop Cannabis Testing

The National Football League doesn’t have a cannabis use problem. The NFL has a cannabis prohibition problem. NFL league officials have yet to offer up a valid justification for the continued prohibition of cannabis use among players. Reasons cited in support of cannabis prohibition in the league include player safety, that cannabis has no medical value, that there needs to be more studies on cannabis, and that cannabis can be a gateway drug that may lead players to try more harmful substances, among other invalid reasons.

Meanwhile the NFL continues to embrace substances that are far more harmful than cannabis, such as alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs. It is hypocrisy on display, plain and simple. The NFL currently prohibits all use of cannabis by players, even when the use is medical in nature, and even when the player’s consumption is in a state where consumption is legal. To date eight states and Washington D.C. have legalized cannabis for adult use, and all but four states have passed medical cannabis legislation in at least CBD-specific form. The only states left in America that enforce full cannabis prohibition are Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.

The National Hockey League (NHL) does not include cannabis on its list of banned substances, and last time the Uncle Cliffy team checked that league was doing perfectly fine. The sky is still intact over NHL facilities. If the NHL can do it without issues, so too can the NFL. The NFL’s cannabis testing threshold is 35 ng/mL of THC metabolites in a player’s urine. If a player tests at that level or higher, they are punished. To put in perspective how low that threshold is, the Olympics uses a threshold of 150 ng/mL for the testing of its athletes.

If Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians had his way, the NFL would quit testing for cannabis altogether. Coach Arians recently expressed that belief on a CBS Sports Radio and CBS Sports Network show hosted by Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney, as captured in the tweet below:

Coach Arians joins a growing number of NFL voices that want to see cannabis prohibition ended in the league. One of the most high profile endorsements of the idea is the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones. The Uncle Cliffy team previously covered news that Jerry Jones was pushing for league cannabis policy reform in a meeting of fellow team owners. Jerry’s stance was later echoed by Cowboys Vice President Stephen Jones. A growing list of poll results shows that fans, members of the sports media, and NFL players themselves want to see the NFL stop testing players for cannabis. It is time that league officials stepped up, had some compassion for its players, and got on the right side of history. Kudos to Coach Arians for speaking out in the name of compassion and logical reasoning!

image via Reddit