The League is prioritizing treatment over punishment. Major League Baseball decision could fundamentally change sports drug policy

Professional baseball players can now smoke marijuana without fear of penalty. The decision to remove marijuana from Major League Baseball’s list of banned substances marks a shift away from more rigid disciplinary action and is a major change for a sport that had long-banned the drug.

It’s also part of a policy overhaul that takes a treatment over punishment approach and spotlights a more dangerous drug than marijuana: opioids.

On Thursday, the MLB and MLBPA announced that “natural cannabinoids”, including marijuana and CBD, are no longer banned. Additionally, suspensions for using marijuana will be dropped from the minor league drug program.

MLB is also changing the way it addresses other substances use, including opioids and cocaine, offering the option to get treatment before facing disciplinary action. By 2021, all players and club personnel will be required to attend educational programs on the “dangers of opioid pain medications and practical approaches to marijuana.”
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