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Report: NFL to change drug policy regarding marijuana use

Roger Goodell (Elsa/Getty Images) Roger Goodell will have final say on disciplinary measures, the NFL argues. (Elsa/Getty Images)

The NFL will revamp its drug policy to "significantly increase the threshold for a positive marijuana test and reduce the punishments for violations involving that drug," according to ESPN.com's Dan Graziano on Tuesday night, who cited a league source.

Many players have lobbied for relaxing punishments on marijuana use, citing the drug as a way to relieve pain and stress.

Writes Graziano: "The source said the NFL's policy on marijuana is outdated, pointing out that the World Anti-Doping Agency has a higher threshold for a positive test than the NFL currently does.

"The NFL Players Association has expressed to the league an interest in studying the medical research that has led to the legalization of marijuana in many states for medicinal use, but it believes changes are needed in the meantime regardless."

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Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who led the league with 1,646 receiving yards last season in 14 games, is facing a year-long suspension for his second failed drug test, which is reportedly for marijuana. But the new policy may not go into effect until after a suspension is levied on him and other players, like the Giants' Will Hill, who have failed drug tests.

The renegotiation of the drug policy, which has been ongoing since 2011 and includes testing for human growth hormone, hasn't been finalized because the league and NFLPA are still haggling over who will dole out discipline — commissioner Roger Goodell or an independent arbitrator — Graziano reports.

"He wants to hold all the cards and he wants to be the judge, jury and executioner, and we're not going to go for an un-American system like that," NFLPA president Eric Winston said last week.

Countered NFL spokesman Greg Aiello: "It's kind of funny because since 2011 the union has come up with one excuse after another to avoid implementing an agreement to test for HGH. First, it was the testing method; then it was the population study; now it's commissioner authority. Our commitment to testing is clear. The same cannot be said of the union."

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