NHL, NHLPA Could Strike Informal Deal On Players' Marijuana Use
NHLPA Exec Dir Don Fehr said that the recent legalization of marijuana in Canada was an "item that has been discussed internally" and added that it was "possible that the NHL and NHLPA could come to an informal understanding about marijuana usage among players in the league in the future," according to Katie Strang of THE ATHLETIC. Because of "some of the thornier legal issues, it might not be likely to see anything codified any time soon, at least as it relates to recreational use." However, on a "medicinal and therapeutic basis, there’s potential for some agreement about how team physicians are advised to prescribe the drug or, at the least, present it as an option." NHLPA Dir of Communications Jonathan Weatherdon confirmed that the "topic of marijuana has generated discussion internally and with the league." While the "front-facing comments from both the league and union are vague on any commitment to the matter, there’s reason to believe the NHL could be on the forefront of this issue." The NHL is already "among the most progressive of the top four sports leagues" in the way it "treats marijuana." Marijuana is "not currently on the league’s banned drugs list, and it’s not a drug that is tested under the collectively-bargained drug policy." On the recreational front, it "seems difficult to imagine that even an agreement mutually agreed upon between the NHL and NHLPA could be explicit." It is "possible that an informal agreement between the two sides could help form some sort of guidance." The "most logical next step for the NHL and NHLPA to explore -- commissioning a scientific study to further examine the potential therapeutic benefits" (THEATHLETIC.com, 7/19).