December 11, 2019
Some players would say that it’s high time: At their winter meeting on December 9, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association reportedly agreed to remove marijuana from the list of banned substances for minor leaguers.
The agreement is set to be a part of a wider deal involving opioid use in baseball, The Athletic reported December 9, according to Fox Business News. Major league players already are not being subjected to marijuana tests, which means pot would essentially be legalized throughout professional baseball.
Minor league baseball players had previously been subjected to a 25-game suspension for the first positive marijuana test; 50 games for the second positive test; 100 games for the third positive test; and a lifetime ban for a fourth positive test.
Indeed, Fox News notes, Major League Baseball’s policy is becoming similar to that of the National Hockey League. The NHL doesn’t punish players who test positive for marijuana but would recommend treatment if a player has “abnormally high levels” of THC in his system.
In the NFL, a player who tests positive for weed the first time enters a substance abuse program. After the second positive result, he gets fined two game checks; and its four game checks after the third positive test. After the fourth, a player gets a four-game suspension; and after the fifth, a 10-game suspension. A player who tests positive for marijuana a sixth time—and it’s hard to believe that a player would continue to smoke marijuana at this point—gets a one-year suspension.
NBA players are subjected to four random tests during the regular season. A player who tests positive the first time enters a substance abuse program,; on the second, he gets a $25,000 fine, on the third positive test, he gets a five-game suspension; and five more games for each subsequent positive test.
MLB and the MLBPA are working on changes to the drug policy in the months after Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs‘ death. Skaggs was found to have two different opioids in his system when he was found dead at a Texas hotel on July 1 prior to an Angels’ game against the Texas Rangers.
Under new the bylaws, players would not be suspended for opioid use but would be placed into a treatment program instead.
MLB and the MLBPA have not finalized their new drug agreement yet. MLBPA head Tony Clark said recently he was optimistic the two sides can agree on the new policy by the end of 2019.
Research contact: @FoxBusiness