MLB minor league will remove ban on cannabis: reports

Cannabis may be removed from Major League Baseball minor league’s list of banned substances, following a trend in sports towards a softening stance towards the drug.

The news comes from The Athletic reporter Ken Rosenthal.

“As part of a new agreement on opioids being negotiated between Major League Baseball and the players’ union, MLB will remove marijuana from the list of banned substances for minor leaguers, sources tell The Athletic,” he tweeted Monday.

Currently, major league players are not tested for cannabis but minor league players are. 

Cannabis is considered a “drug of abuse” to the league, and can lead to a 25 game suspension for a first positive test, a 50 game suspension for a second positive test, a 100 game suspension for a third positive test, or a life ban from the sport after a fourth positive test. 

Thirteen suspensions in the MLB minor league were made in 13 in 2019 due to cannabis use.

The new MLB minor league policy comes after Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs died earlier in the year possibly from opioids, which were found in his system at the time of his death.

The new program would place players in treatment rather than suspending them for testing positive for opioids.

The new policy is not final yet though, but CBS News reports MLBPA chief Tony Clark said recently he is confident the two sides can make an agreement before the end of the year.

Cannabis within sports has been a contentious issue for quite some time now, especially given the wave of legalization hitting around the world.

The debate often centers around whether cannabis is performance-enhancing or not.

The World-Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) currently considers cannabis a banned substance because they consider it performance-enhancing and harmful to an athlete’s health.

According to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), cannabis can enhance sports performance because it can allow muscle relaxation, reduce post-workout pain, and decrease anxiety and fear, allowing athletes to focus better while under pressure and lead to a better performance.

It also goes against the spirit of sport because it is illegal federally in the U.S. and in many states, though that might change in the future.

Nevertheless, sports are opening up more to the drug as athletes have come forward as advocates, especially as an alternative to more addicting opioids.

Currently, cannabis is not on the NHL’s list of banned substances, but players can be banned for multiple positive cannabis tests in the NFL and NBA.

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