For baseball players who take advantage of a new drug policy in which the use of marijuana is permitted, the commissioner has a warning: Just don't show up at the stadium.
Although Major League Baseball removed marijuana from its list of prohibited substances during the off-season, the league last week told teams that players remain subject to potential discipline for the use or possession of the drug, according to a memo obtained by ESPN.
In the memo, Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem wrote that the league maintains the right to punish players who violate existing marijuana laws, such as possession and distribution, as well as to drive under the influence.
Players and team personnel who "appear under the influence of marijuana or any other cannabinoid during any of the club's games, practices, practices, meetings or other events during the course and within the scope of their employment" will be subjected to a "mandatory assessment" potential treatment program, according to the memo.
Although the penalty for a major league player who tested positive for marijuana in the past was a fine, the biggest change was for minor league players, for whom marijuana was a banned substance and with a severe suspension for positive. Minor league players rejoiced at the new drug deal, in which the MLB abandoned its marijuana policy for more stringent opioid testing.
Recreational marijuana is legal in the cities inhabited by 11 major league teams: A, Angels, Blue Jays, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Sailors, Fathers, Red Sox, Rocky Mountains and White Sox. Medical marijuana is legal in 26 of the 30 major league locations, with the exceptions of Georgia, Texas and Wisconsin.
Smaller leagues are much more restrictive in terms of location. More than 60 minor league cities are in states where medical and recreational marijuana is illegal.
Despite the relative open-mindedness of the MLB – it has a particularly liberal policy, especially when compared to the NFL, which is only now considering abolishing suspensions for players who test positive for marijuana – is still not exactly advocating the use of marijuana.
"Club medical personnel are prohibited from prescribing, distributing or recommending the use of marijuana or any other cannabinoid" to players or officials, nor can they store it on the team's premises, the memo said.
The use of cannabidiol, or CBD, remains potentially risky for players because the products are not certified by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and may be contaminated with drugs that are on the prohibited list and subject to suspensions for half a season.
The MLB and the MLB Players Association "are working closely with NSF International to develop an independent testing and certification process for" hemp-based CBD products, according to the memo.
With the billion-dollar legal marijuana business, players considered entering the space as entrepreneurs, according to sources. The memo said that the MLB plans to address the rules regarding property in the sector in the future, although "until such guidance is issued, these investments or commercial agreements are still considered prohibited under current practices".