The National Football League is starting to come around on its marijuana policy. The collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players runs out at the end of next season, and the two sides are in negotiations for a new one. Among the items in the proposal that NFL owners recently submitted to players was a plan to reduce the penalties for marijuana use, and change the way that the league it tests for it.

One of the biggest changes is that the league would no longer suspend players who test positive for cannabis. In addition, the league would test fewer players, and the testing window would shrink from a period of four months to just two weeks.

Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones has hinted in the past that there will likely be an "adjustment" in the way the league handles its drug policy with respect to marijuana use.

Cannabis plant.

Image source: Getty Images.

Other sports leagues already further ahead

The NFL has been one of the harshest professional sports leagues when it comes to how it responds to players using marijuana. Canopy Growth (CGC) has partnered with the National Hockey League (NHL) Alumni Association to research how cannabis can help former players dealing with injuries related to their athletic careers. Canopy Growth is active in the sports industry, and in October, it announced that it bought a majority stake in sports drink company Biosteel. The company intends to develop hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD) products designed for athletes.

Rival marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis (ACB -2.22%) partnered with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2019 to do research on the impact that hemp-based CBD products can have on athletes in terms of improving their overall wellness and recovery times from injuries.