The National Football League Players Union (NFLPA) has reportedly ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with the league. Among numerous other changes, the agreement -- which will be in force for 10 years -- dramatically changes the way the league will treat players who use marijuana.
Although the new agreement has not yet been officially made public, key components of it have been obtained by various media outlets.
According to several, such as The Sporting News, these changes shrink the period during which the league can test players from four months to two weeks, and raises the minimum concentration for a "positive" test from 35 nanograms of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the substance that produces a high) to 150 nanograms.
Perhaps most critically, the current agreement eliminates the league's right to suspend players for marijuana use. Instead, if a player tests positive, their test will be evaluated by a board of medical professionals who will decide if he requires treatment -- but no punishment may be imposed.
The new agreement is the latest indication that professional sports leagues in the U.S. are taking a softer view of cannabis and related substances. Late last year, for example, Major League Baseball and its players union agreed to strike marijuana from the league's roster of banned substances -- a move similar to the one being taken by the NFL and the NFLPA.
Meanwhile, notable names in Big Marijuana are edging into the world of athletics in various ways. Last year, Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC) acquired sports drink and supplements maker BioSteel Sports Nutrition. At the time, the company said its new asset "provides Canopy Growth with a significant platform to enter the sports nutrition and hydration segment."
Canopy Growth's stock slid by 6% on Monday, on a day when the S&P 500 index fell 12%.