It’s been a big year for NFL fans in Denver and Seattle. On the field, the Broncos and the Seahawks had dominant regular seasons and cruised into the playoffs. Off the field, ballot initiatives that passed in 2012 went into effect, making it legal for adults in Colorado andWashington to possess and consume marijuana. So fans in those states now have the option of grabbing a Bud Light (proud sponsor of the NFL) or lighting a bud while watching a game at home.
NFL players, however, do not enjoy the same freedom. Instead, they are subject todrug testing — not just for performance-enhancing substances but for “substances of abuse,” including marijuana. Those screenings tend to be sporadic but can become far more frequent after an initial positive test. Testing positive just once can get a player suspended, without pay, for four games. By comparison, the National Hockey League tests only for performance-enhancing drugs. And while Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association do test for marijuana, their penalties are much less harsh.