Apr 6, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; NCAA president Mark Emmert speaks at a press conference before the national championship game between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Connecticut Huskies at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Marijuana and Sports: Passing it On

We might have to rethink the phrase ‘hottest bowl game’ from now on.

According to a report by CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, the NCAA has reduced its restrictions on marijuana. The drug is no longer being considered a performance enhancing drug and the penalty has changed a full-season to a half-season suspension now. Beginning August 1, the punishment will become more a school issue than anything else.

Dodd adds that major schools, including USC and University of Texas, support the measures. He writes that USC claims “these issues can be treated the same as academic fraud,”

This is where things begin to get interesting. If punishment truly lies within the hands of the school, then how severe are they going to be? Will the violators just get slaps on the wrists or spanks on the tush?

The NCAA is hoping that the schools and conferences will provide violators an opportunity for a sort of rehabilitation for the drug. And now that it is no longer considered a PED, how often can schools even test their athletes for it? Once a month? Once a season? Athletes are smart enough to not smoke marijuana before a big game, but the temptation will be there.

And it’s not just the college level where things are beginning to shift.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stones Magazine, Clippers forward Blake Griffin said that he would support the use of medical marijuana in the NBA.

This is where we have our first problem.

How can one decipher what is medical marijuana and what is recreational marijuana? Can the NCAA impose a ban on recreational and approve marijuana for medicinal purposes? They could set up a type of evaluation to be done, as studies have shown that marijuana does reduce pain for those with cancer and other aches in their bones.

The world’s view on marijuana has changed, and it has been a recent change. In baby steps, we’ve taken a lighter approach on marijuana and now the sports world is beginning to embrace it as well. In a small sort of way, of course. We already knew it wasn’t a PED, but now the NCAA finally recognizes it now.

And what happens if the NBA approves the use of medial marijuana? Is MLB next? What about the NFL? Even though it was at the college level, the door has been cracked slightly and it will soon open wide and blow smoke everywhere (pun intended).

And on that, isn’t it a little conspicuous that the NCAA lightened their stance on marijuana AFTER they approved unlimited meals and snacks for Division-I athletes?

Just saying.

Tags: Los Angeles Clippers NCAA

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