The NFL "hopes" to make changes to its marijuana testing policy during collective bargaining, according to a report from NBC Sports' Mike Florio.
Marijuana use is currently banned in the NFL. Players are suspended for using it after testing positive twice. After the first positive test, a player is put in the league's "Stage Two" intervention program, which means they can be tested more regularly for up to 24 months.
According to Florio, the NFL "realizes" it no longer has a "good reason" for letting marijuana use keep players from the sport. However, the league is reportedly being selective about when it will seek to make changes to its policy.
"The NFL isn’t yet willing to make dramatic and wholesale changes to the marijuana testing policy because the NFL hopes to dangle the changes within the context of collective bargaining, securing a concession from the union in exchange for softening a policy that badly needs to be softened," reports Florio.
Earlier this year, former tight end Martellus Bennett said that he estimated around 89% of NFL players used marijuana. He said that some players use it for medicinal purposes to help with injuries.
"There are times of the year where your body just hurts so bad," Bennett said. "You don’t want to be popping pills all the time. There are anti-inflammatory drugs you take so long that they start to eat at your liver, kidneys and things like that. A human made that. God made weed."
If the NFL tried to change the policy as a separate issue rather than during collective bargaining, the union would not "bite," reports Florio. The NFL's current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire in 2021.