Marijuana in any form has been a non-starter in professional sports basically forever. Despite the fact that more than half of U.S. states have decriminalized medical marijuana or made recreational marijuana use legal, sports leagues have been reticent to allow players to use the substance, even if just to medicate for pain.
The NFL might be cracking, however. A recent report by the Washington Post says that the league has sent a letter to the NFL Players Association saying that it is willing to work with them on a study. According to the letter, they’d like to see a study specifically on the use of marijuana as a pain management tool for football players.
The NFLPA has not yet responded to the league. The group announced earlier this year that they would like to see an altered drug policy that reflects the changing legal landscape and provides players with safe alternatives for pain treatment. The hope is to provide better options that opioid treatment, which can be addicting.
The NFL has previously said it was only interested in conducting a study on its own.
Joe Lockhart, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications, told WaPo that the league looks “forward to working with the Players Association on all issues involving the health and safety of our players.”
In the meantime, NFL players are still at risk for disciplinary action if they test positive for marijuana. The league’s policy was relaxed in 2014 to change the threshold for what constitutes a positive test, but players still face potential suspensions and lost wages.