While medical marijuana is legal in 40 percent of the United States, the NFL doesn’t allow its players to smoke the substance for any reason. According to Antonio Cromartie of the New York Jets, the rule doesn’t do much to discourage use in the league.
"We're just going to do it anyway," Cromartie told Thisis50.com last week. "They just need to let it go. They need to go ahead and say, 'Y'all go ahead, smoke it, do what you need to do.'"
On Wednesday, Cromartie clarified his statements on Twitter. He claimed he doesn’t personally smoke weed, but was instead using a general term to describe NFL players.
It might not be a major secret that football players smoke weed and get away with it. In 2012, former NFL offensive lineman Lomas Brown estimated to the Detroit News that half of all players smoke pot. His statements came after three members of the Detroit Lions had been arrested for possession of marijuana. Text messages between Miami Dolphins offensive linemen Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin that were recently made public also indicate that marijuana use is not rare in the NFL.
The topic of legalizing weed in the NFL garnered increased attention during the week of the Super Bowl. The Seattle Seahawks played the Denver Broncos in the big game, and while the league doesn’t allow any of the players in the contest to smoke marijuana, the states in which they play their home games have legalized the drug. In the days leading up to the game, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said he was open to the idea of the league letting its players use medical marijuana.
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Commissioner Roger Goodell, though, has not changed his stance on this issue. Until marijuana use becomes legal across the entire country, it might remain illegal in the NFL.
"It is still and illegal substance on a national basis," Goodell said. "It's something that is part to the collective bargaining agreement with the players. It is questionable as to the positive impacts (of weed), in face of the very strong evidence of the negative effects including addictions and other issues. We will continue to follow the the medical research. Our experts right now aren't not indicating changing our policy in any way. We are not actively considering it."