MLB Removes the Reefer from Banned Drug ListPress Release
NEW YORK, NY – Major League Baseball has officially become the first major American sports league that has removed marijuana from its list of banned drugs.
According to KTXS, the league, in collaboration with its players union, announced Thursday morning that it will change the way marijuana use in players is addressed in by the league. The changes will go into effect in 2020 when spring training begins.
“Natural cannabinoids (e.g., THC, CBD, and Marijuana) will be removed from the Program's list of Drugs of Abuse," said the league. "Going forward, marijuana-related conduct will be treated the same as alcohol-related conduct under the Parties' Joint Treatment Program for Alcohol-Related and Off-Field Violent Conduct, which provides mandatory evaluation, voluntary treatment and the possibility of discipline by a Player's Club or the Commissioner's Office in response to certain conduct involving Natural Cannabinoids."
In addition to the change in marijuana policy, the league is also updating other aspects of its drug policy. In an effort to prevent another tragedy, like the sudden death of Angels pitcher, Tyler Skaggs, who died after ingesting a mix of fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol, the league will be testing players for the presence of opioids, fentanyl, cocaine and synthetic THC.
Players who test positive will not be suspected, unless they refuse to work with the league on a treatment plan.
"Any player who tests positive for one of these Drugs of Abuse will be referred to the Parties' Joint Treatment Board (composed of medical professionals specializing in substance abuse and representatives from the Office of the Commissioner and the Players Association) for an initial evaluation and, if appropriate, formulation of a personalized treatment plan for that Players going forward," said the league. "Only Players who fail to cooperate with their initial evaluation or prescribed treatment plan may be subject to discipline."
All players and team personnel will also be required to attend programs outlining the dangers of using opioids for pain management during the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
"Players are overwhelmingly in favor of expanding our drug-testing regimen to include opioids, and want to take a leadership role in helping to resolve this national epidemic," said Tony Clark, executive director of the MLBPA.
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