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Roger Goodell: Marijuana a ‘medical issue,’ needs further research

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s views on marijuana may be slightly evolving given how recent comments stand in stark contrast to things he said about the issue earlier this year.

Goodell, speaking at a forum at the Denver Broncos’ Dove Valley headquarters this week, declared marijuana a “medical issue” and suggested further research is needed.

“If pain management is something that medical marijuana can address responsibly, that’s something that our medical community is evaluating,” Goodell said, per a report from Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Postvia Pro Football Talk. “We just proposed to our union in the last month or so that we put some research money behind that to see how we could implement that . . . if they can address pain management in an effective and safe fashion. That’s something that I assume will get a lot of discussion, but hopefully it involves a lot of research and medical opinions that can help us make the best decisions.”

Goodell, as noted, exhibited a much more negative disposition toward marijuana earlier this year when he declared cannabis “addictive,” among other things.

Marijuana of course is currently banned under the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement’s substance-abuse policy. But recent developments indicate the league and the NFLPA may be interested in at least exploring the issue more thoroughly.

The NFL just recently sent a letter to the players association indicating a potential collaboration between the parties to research the possible use of marijuana for “pain management for both acute and chronic conditions,” per a report from The Washington Post.

The societal and legal views on marijuana use — medicinally and otherwise — continue to evolve in this country. But it was evident from Goodell’s earlier comments that the NFL will not simply adopt more liberal policies in light of those changes. But as Goodell made clear in his comments this week, the NFL is at least interested in potential research on the issue.