The issue of marijuana legalization has become a major national topic in recent weeks, since Colorado and Washington each legalized pot for recreational use and even President Obama commented on his own past marijuana use, saying it's no more dangerous than alcohol. Now the issue has even arrived at the Super Bowl. At a news conference last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league would be willing to consider allowing medicinal marijuana as a treatment option for injured players. Goodell added that the league would only do it if medical experts determined it could be a "proper usage in any context."
Goodell's comments at least opened the door to the possibility of the league removing marijuana from its list of banned substances. At his Super Bowl news conference this week, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll endorsed Goodell's approach. "The fact that it's in the world of medicine is something that obviously the commissioner realizes," said Carroll. "So him making the expression that we need to follow the information and the research, absolutely I'm in support of." Carroll added that it's important to look at all options for taking the best possible care of players. "Regardless of what other stigmas may be involved, we have to do this because the world of medicine is doing this," he said.
While the league is open to considering medical pot as an option, that's still a long way from it actually happening. Sportstalk 790 host and former NFL player Greg Koch says there's one big obstacle standing in the way. "It's still a federal crime," he tells KTRH. "If the feds wanted to prosecute they could, so how Roger Goodell or anyone thinks they can do that without getting the feds to agree on it first, I think is just a lot of people barking up the wrong tree." Federal law prohibits marijuana from being transported across state lines, so any legally-sanctioned use in a league like the NFL would be very difficult under current law. The bottom line, according to Koch, is that any medical marijuana plan for the NFL is a long way off. "This is something that's going to have to be studied greatly before I think they'll ever make a decision," he says. "So I don't think you'll see anything happen on it for at least the next three years."