MLB Allows Cannabis Use For Players, But Not Sponsorships
The MLB has finalized their cannabis policies as of last week and have made it clear they are okay with players using cannabis in their free time, although they are NOT allowing them to partake in any cannabis related sponsorships. Although the MLB is not ruling out sponsorships completely- they will discuss the possibility of endorsements/sponsorships at a later date.
In the past, players who tested positive for cannabis were subject to "mandatory treatment and persistent offenders were charged up to $35,000 in fines per offense". The MLB still remains extremely strict regarding cannabis use among players and other league employees. Not only do the players face potential repercussions if they are caught under the influence of cannabis, but so do team personnel. According to the memo, any player or team personnel who shows up under the influence of cannabis at "games, practices, workouts, meetings or otherwise during the course and within the scope of their employment” will undergo a mandatory evaluation for a potential treatment program.
There are a total of 12 MLB teams that are based in cities where marijuana has been legalized for adult use: the A’s, Angels, Blue Jays, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners, Padres, Red Sox, Rockies, Tigers, and White Sox. Medical marijuana is available in every MLB location except for Georgia, Texas and Wisconsin.
Its fair to say that endorsements/sponsorships made by MLB players for cannabis-- whether it's for recreational or medicinal purposes-- will have a major effect on the cannabis industry. I believe this will help with eliminating the stigma around the use of cannabis if players have the platform to speak out on how it helps with a variety of ailments. After taking a quick glance of the 21 qualifying conditions approved for medical marijuana treatment here in Ohio, I guarantee the average person would be able to think of at least one person (acquaintance, family member, or friend ) who suffers from one of those conditions. Professional athletes are no different than the average person, therefor if given the opportunity to speak out about marijuana as medicine, through a sponsorship or endorsement it could truly help with eliminating the stigma around the use of cannabis.
The opportunities are endless when combining sports fans favorite things- marijuana and MLB! I don't see sponsorships or endorsements for cannabis happening anytime soon, but it will definitely be a game-changer once the MLB warms up to the idea. So far they still remain ahead of the NFL in regards to their cannabis policies for players.
Who do you think will be the next Willie Nelson or Snoop Dog of the MLB?